For the 14th year in succession, the New Pantomime Productions company is at the Grand Opera House offering traditional family entertainment - that is entertainment without taking any risks, entertainment with boxes being ticked. Or, rather tired entertainment.
So much is over familiar, even to children with a limited experience of pantomime. There is a ghost scene (yes, in Sleeping Beauty) and a comic singing of the 12 Days of Christmas. Both are well-played - indeed, it makes a change to see a ghost with a decent head on - but many in the audience will wonder why new or alternative routines were not tried.
A Sleeping Beauty with a dame (David Heath) rather than a nurse will raise an eyebrow but this dame turns out to be an agreeable foil for the antics of Syd Little and Matt Dallen. The latter is Chester the Jester and his appearances on-stage raise the expectancy levels and in fact save this pantomime. Deena Payne’s turn as the wicked Carabosse lacks glamour. She has plenty of it, so why is it being restrained?
As is usual at this venue the dance teams will rank with the best in any pantomime anywhere in the country.