GROWN men in frocks, women playing men, magic lamps, groansome gags, song sheets, shouts of ‘behind you’, and the chance to boo Dean Sullivan... it can only mean panto.
With fewer traditional shows around this year, the Floral Pavilion continues to guarantee solid family entertainment, with its Aladdin proving a shiny, energetic seasonal offering.
This is former Emmerdale actress Kelsey-Beth Crossley’s first panto, and she eases into the title role as the show progresses.
Aladdin has a running time of almost three hours, meaning the young audience’s attention dips in the middle, but the cast work hard to keep their own energy levels at a peak and are generally successful in keeping the little ones focused on the stage.
They crank up the silliness as the show progresses, particularly the second half which opens with a hot hoofing Riverdance in the Twankey laundry where the Widow (actor/ director Anthony Williams) and Wishee Washee (Balamory’s Andrew Agnew) goof centre stage.
The pair are the comedy engine room of the show, along with Bobby Winde- bank and Owen Thompson – as sharp and silly double act PCs Ping and Pong.
And of course Dean Sullivan has the ‘mwahhh haaa haaa’ and raised eyebrow camp evilness required by a panto villain.
There were some microphone issues early on in Sunday’s show, which were deftly dealt with, while technology proved kinder when it came to the nifty effects of Aladdin’s flying carpet.
And like all children’s fairytales, all’s well that ends well with a wedding and a song.