Polka Dot pantos at the South Holland Centre are becoming a real date for the diary and with shows like this one that tradition is sure to continue.
Beauty and the Beast has everything you want from your panto... awful and risque jokes, slapstick humour and audience participation (voluntary and forced!). There are topical references, popular chart songs and even a cute dog.
It really is two-and-a-half hours of great family entertainment and laughter as the cast keep young and old entertained.
We all know the story... a handsome young prince is cursed by a witch and doomed to stay hidden in his castle in the guise of a grotesque beast until someone falls in love with and breaks the spell.
But pantos entertain on many levels and for me it was the superb chemistry between Dolly Doughnut and stage son Muddles that really captivated.
Vince Williams’ dame, played with all the camp charm of David Walliams at his best, was at the centre of all the show’s funniest moments and the water pistol scene with Muddles (Luke Glover) had the actors as well as the audience in stitches.
Emma Wilson was perfect as the beautiful Belle and Peter Dineen was great as her dad. Ben Gordon made an ideal Prince Lucien, both with and without ‘Beast’ mask, and Natasha Brooke was convincing and larger than life as the evil Grimalkin.
And perhaps the most assured performance came from Danielle Pedel as Fairy Flambe. Also, what I love about these Polka Dot shows is that local youngsters get their chance to perform among the professional dancers.
• Beauty and the Beast continues today (Thursday), Friday and Saturday, returning on Tuesday, December 27 up to and including Saturday, December 31. Shows run at various times – call the box office on 01775 764777. Ticket prices are £14.50, £13.50 concessions and £13 in a family group (must contain at least one adult – maximum two).