I don’t know if The Cresset has a motto, but “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” would do for me.
That is certainly the case when it comes to panto, which this year sees Snow White at the venue until December 30.
It has a formula that works, year in, year out. Take a well known story, add a TV soap star, some familiar faces, a sprinkling of instantly recognisable songs and some slapstick comedy - not forgetting the must-have panto gags.
This year, based on Sunday’s matinee show, they have even ramped it up a notch making it, for me, the best in recent years with a great combination of humour, music and dance.
Last year’s Wendy, Victoria Jane returns in the title role and revels in it. She is very likeable, lights up the stage with her smile and sings beautifully.
Her suitor -Prince Florizelle - is very able song and dance man Mitch Hewer, who has a voice to match his good looks.
The laughs come from the mother and son combo Dame Betty Bon Bon and Muddles. Zach Vanderfelt returns for the umpteenth year as the man of many frocks, and what great creations they are. Like a fine wine he gets better with age, and once again demonstrates great timing and delivery. And former Coronation Street star Kevin Kennedy is a natural funnyman who plays the clown with ease delivering the usual crop of corny, Christmas cracker jokes to great aplomb.
All pantos need a good villain - and The Cresset has a winner in the shape of Britt Lenting as Queen Sovania. She is not long out of We Will Rock you in the West End and as well as being a menacing, cackling baddie has one hell of a voice.
She quite rightly gets plenty of stage time and the big Queen numbers - including Killer Queen naturally - are the highlights. The use of “live video” works well too.
She is so good, it seems wrong to boo her!
The song list with Little Mix and Ed Sheeran hits was upbeat and just right for the story while the young dancers from Limelight Theatre were heavily involved in all the musical scenes and truly excellent.