It’s pure and simple, this year’s Hawth panto is as much fun as you could hope for Christmas.
Les Dennis is on top form as Widow Twankey in the classic panto tale - Aladdin.
It’s the usual old story: street rat Aladdin (played by Hear’Say’s Noel Sullivan), fancies Princess Jasmine (Helen Kurup), but her dad the Emperor of China (Chris Jarman) forbids it.
Meanwhile, evil Abanazar (Neighbours’ Richard Grieve - remember him?) needs Aladdin to help him get the lamp from a cave.
Aladdin gets stuck in the cave but rubs the lamp to make the genie (a cool, rapping Miguel Angel) appear and all sorts of shenanigans happen involving Aladdin’s mum Widow Twankey and brother Wishee Washee (Jon Clegg).
As per usual, there is plenty of song, plenty of dance and just enough innuendo for it not to be inappropriate (which can’t be said for some of the dancers’ costumes!).
As well as Les Dennis (who is still bang on with his Mavis from Coronation Street impression), local boy Clegg, a Hawth stalwart, shines again with his topical gags and impressions - his Marge Simpson is scarily good. There are pop culture references aplenty with Strictly, X-Factor, TOWIE, The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den all getting the treatment.
And, as I imagine it will be the same in pantos around the country, the Gangnam Style dance got an outing with even Dennis bouncing around to the tune.
There’s a mixture of songs performed ranging from Lady Gaga (with Dennis doing his best Gaga, telephone hat et al), Girls Aloud and, er, Michael Ball. The singing is all good, but what else would you expect with someone from Hear’Say belting out tunes?
But credit must go to choreographer Thomas Spratt and the kids from The Roshe Performing School for the great dance numbers.
The sets are fantastic as well with the cave dark and gloomy and the City of Peking colourful and eye-catching.
There is also one wow moment involving a magic carpet.
All-in-all a brilliant panto with plenty for the kids and enough for adults. And seeing Les Dennis doing Gangnam style is worth the entry fee alone.