When it comes to dazzle the Royal delivers one of the glitziest shows around. Full of sparkle and spectacle, this production is a gem from start to finish.
Propelled by a fine cast, high-octaine choreography and a cracking five-piece orchestra the panto unfurls at a pace.
Christopher Biggins gives an effervescent performance as Sarah the Cook, blending hilarity with the outre couture of his endless wardrobe.
Along with the rest of the cast, Biggins has to deliver some lame one-liners - but collective company charisma saves the day.
The show is low on slapstick and could benefit from a sharper script but, played out against Hugh Durrant’s vibrant sets, it is a kaleidoscopic escape from the winter blues.
Boom-booming his way through the plot is Basil Brush, giving an ebullient foxy account of himself.
As King Rat, James Barron delights in delivering rodent rage. Countering his evil scheming, Hilary O’Neil brings the power of magic and mirth of mimicry together as Spirit of the Bells, a fairy of many voices.
Playing Dick Whittington, Sam Cassidy makes a fine hero and has instant audience appeal, as does love interest Alice (Mia Lincoln). Delivering his own brand of dippy hilarity is Ben Nickless as Winkle. His Elvis impression, learned by listening to a well-worn scratched vinyl record, was superb.