The prodigal son has returned. For six consecutive years Jonathan Wilkes topped the panto bill in this, his hometown theatre - and how the Potteries audiences loved him. Last year, though, he was absent and was sorely missed. But now he’s back and triumphs once again in a fast-paced show laced with hilarious local references.
His stage presence is such that he has the audience on-side from the moment he steps into the spotlight. With an often rude script that relies heavily on bodily functions - to the particular delight of youngsters - he clearly has a whale of a time and makes sure his fans do too. Further comic delights are to be found courtesy of Jamie Tyler as a wonderfully wacky Dandini, while Christian Patterson and Kai Owen veer from smutty gags to sheer nastiness as the Ugly Sisters.
We also have a fairy godmother (Carrie-Ann Williams) who wows everyone with a truly wonderful rendition of Nessun Dorma. It might be out of character but with such a brilliant voice, who cares? The sets are fantastic, not least a magical carriage pulled by a flying horse to take Cinderella (Rebecca Lisewski) to the ball. All the elements gel, but essentially this is the Jonathan Wilkes Show.