When pantomime is done right, there can be nothing theatrically that can compete with it at Christmas time.
And this year’s tale of Dick Whittington at The Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury is a fine example of traditional pantomime given fabulously contemporary twist.
The story sees Dick Whittington stop off in London town and wins the heart of Alice Fitzwarren. However the Queen Rat has other plans and frames Dick for a crime that he didn’t commit.
The panto gets off to a great start. Former The X Factor winner Sam Bailey is soon belting out a classic Queen song and some well timed dance routines see the ensemble dancing along to Don’t Stop Me Now.
For the undoubted star attraction in the show, Bailey is barely seen for much of the first act but comes into her own during the second and makes a confident and likeable Fairy Bowbells.
And the perfectly cast Kristopher Milnes and Rachael Louise Miller make a beautifully sweet Dick and Alice without ever being saccharine.
But every panto needs a villain, and another former The X Factor finalist Melanie Masson, is an excellent villainesss. Booed and hissed throughout by a fantastically vocal audience, she thrives on the hatred projected by the audience.
And then there are the comedy elements. There are plenty of moments of audience participation encouraged by the rest of the cast including Andy Collins’ Idle Jack and Jason Sutton as Sarah the Cook. And while the kids are laughing at the puns and cheesy jokes, there is more than a handful of very rude jokes that will have plenty of the adults laughing out of loud.
There are some great set pieces, the number to Uptown Funk and the gags during the 12 Days of Christmas routine are superb.
This is a fine example of pantomime and one that will definitely put a smile on your face. The perfect tonic to get you in the mood for Christmas.
Dick Whittington can be seen until Sunday January 3. For tickets call the box office on 0844 871 7607 or visit www.atgtickets.co.uk/aylesbury