The usual main characters fade into the background somewhat as Julian Clary struts his stuff and liberally sprinkles innuendo as a fabulously camp Dandini in Plymouth’s panto at the Theatre Royal.
It really is the Julian Clary show as, resplendent in sumptuous faux fur and velvet, sequins and feathers, he eclipses an otherwise competent cast.
Keith Harris is a superbly clever ventriloquist bringing something for the kids with base humour and whimsy through a delightfully rude Chuckles the Monkey and cutesy Orville, that nappy-wearing green duck. Harris is an able Buttons but there is something a little creepy about his declaration of love for the nubile teen Cinderella (a sweet debut for Hannah Nicholas).
Tony Jackson (his eighth panto with Clary) and Charles Brunton (Squidward in the UK tour of SpongeBob SquarePants: the Sponge Who Could Fly) are psychedelic as the nasty Ugly Sisters; Roy Simpson is a bumbling Baron Hardup; Ian Gledhill (another of the Clary entourage) is officious as Lord Chamberlain; opera and musical stalwart Rosemary Ashe is a fragrant Fairy Godmother while Dan Krikler is suitably handsome as Prince Charming.
The set is ornate and pretty, and the Theatre Royal Orchestra kept in tight control by keyboard player Leigh Thompson.
The Stoneybroke Dancers are upbeat under instruction from choreographer Kevan Allen and the Theatre Royal Babes (10 a night) are adorable, particularly as woodland animals.
There’s love and loss, triumph of good, pyrotechnics and confetti, wicked stepsisters, ghosties and ghoulies, spiders and foxes, and glittering coaches and sparkly slippers - everything expected of a pantomime.