It is tempting to grumble about the supposed spontaneity of this ebullient mainstage panto. Kathryn Rooney’s production is so finely tuned that everything – from the foreign visitors in the box to the late arrivals in the stalls and the onstage collision with a swinging door – is planned and executed with breathless precision.
In one sense this is a shame. If improvisation is genuinely called for, as it is when actor Johnny Mac invites four children on to the stage to sing a variant of Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep, he is brilliant at it. Unfazed by the unpredictability, he makes his seven-year-old recruits laugh and the audience laugh harder – not necessarily at the same joke. He makes himself seem all the more lovable. [READ MORE]