Written and directed by Kenneth Alan-Taylor, you just know that you're in for a whole lot of fun when the Playhouse panto kicks of the Christmas season, and "Dick Whittington" will not disappoint.
The glitz and glitter is in abundance as we start off with a Tyrolean dance section which brings us into the introduction of the panto family we all know and love, well if you're a regular that is. there are three new faces added to the Kenneth Alan-Taylor roster this year and they fit in like a comfy old slipper.
We all know the story of "Dick" but Kenneth seems to inject a certain freshness in the well worn story as do the wonderful cast of regulars and newbies.
Dick is played by Tim Frater, As usual bouncing with energy and energetic dance moves. Tim brings soul to the show. Instantly likeable, if you've not seen Tim before and a firm family favourite.
The gorgeous Rebecca Little is back as Fairy Bowbells, mixing her pantos up with an accent not unlike Babs Windsor, but that's probably where the Bow Bells come into it.
Sarah The Cook is in the capable hands and corset of regular Grand Dame of the panto, John Elkington. Once more giving his absolute all with that twinkle set firmly in his eye. His ad lib section where he interviews the kids before the big finale is as funny as the wonderful script he works from. He knows how to work the audience, holding them in the palm of his hand to the very end.
Another regular Anthony Hoggard is back as Florrie Fitzwarren. The facial expressions he produces are a dream to watch for. Comedy gold!
The baddie this year is played by Kevin MacGowan. King Rat hits just the right blend of nastiness and comedy. Just right so as not to scare the kids but enough to get them to boo and hiss in all the right places. A proper panto villain, and I love the way that he has a running catchphrase of sorts by adding "for those who don't know" when explaining himself. A nice fresh touch.
And so to the new family members. Alice, Dick's betrothed is played by the lovely Natalie Taylor-Gray. She has excellent theatrical roots as she is a graduate of the Sylvia Young School who has produced many well known faces from TV and film.
Jasmine White plays tallulah the Cat. Never have I looked at a cat and thought "Phwooaaarrr" before, and for those who don't know, that means she is hot stuff!. Lithe and very sexy with a long background of dance training and this really shows in her perfect balletic dance moves.
Last, but not least is Jack, Dick's friend played by Matthew Chase. Matthew, from the reaction he got on opening night, is also a firm favourite with the female theatre going audience. Fresh-faced and cheeky he sings and dances through the panto with ease and gusto.
The newbies take the professional "ad-libs" within their stride, unphased and with true professionalism.
A brilliant set, which never fails to impress. Big, bright and beautiful scenery which has the wow factor, as does the costumes for all involved, not just the dames. Just wait for the finale costumes and wait for your jaws to drop!
We've come to expect great sound and light and no failure there either, thanks to Adam P McCready and Jason Taylor respectively.
Classy and tight choreography by Adele Parry, and as previously mentioned, very energetic. The tap scenes are sharp and some nice ballet and "strictly" type moves in with the party sections.
Talking of which there's some great musical numbers, as usual something for everyone. Songs from classic musicals, George Formby style section, a few nautical songs, a Caribbean party and a few chart tracks to get the hands clapping and the kids involved.
In short, Christmas has arrived with one big party atmosphere. Full of fun, old and the odd new jokes, topical references from TV shows like "I'm A Celebrity" as well as TV commercials incorporated within. Booing and hissing, heroes and villains, fun music... well for those who don't know, it's a non-stop party for a couple of hours for the whole family that'll leave your face aching with laughter and the palms of your hands red from clapping.
"Dick Whittington" is on at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 16 January 2016.