Loughborough has a good track record for pantomime. This year’s show is Little Wolf Entertainment at its very best. It never sits on its laurels, never takes its devoted audience for granted and serves up a show that is fresh, funny and bang up-to-date.
There’s a fairground theme this year, giving James Peake’s glorious Helga Skelter Trott the licence to unleash every pun imaginable in Morgan Brind’s wickedly witty script. Peake’s dressed as a bulldozer at one point, doing a bit of DIY on the caravan; later, his ice-cream sundae costume – “a silly cone implant” – survives a drenching during a riotous slapstick sequence.
Peake’s engaging familiarity with the audience is shared among the cast, especially Ella-Jane Thomas as Simple Simone and Kristian Cunningham as Jack – both making a welcome return. Samuel Haughton’s villainous Walter Waltzer has a pronounced German accent and sports many disguises. There’s a spectacular giant and beanstalk, an endearing pantomime cow, and an inventive UV sequence is a dramatic part of the plot.
It is the attention to detail in every aspect of the show that makes it so special. There’s even a moral: it’s people, not things, that make you happy.