Peter Pan (New Wimbledon Theatre)

Marcus Brigstocke and Verne Troyer star in the New Wimbledon’s panto

This year's Peter Pan at Wimbledon eschews regular panto traditions such as the Dame and Principal Boy, but is still a rollicking good time thanks to some inspired casting and a surprisingly faithful adherence to the JM Barrie original story.

This Peter (winningly and athletically played by George Ure) even speaks the direct quote "to die will be an awfully big adventure" when faced with possible extinction at the hands (or rather, hand-and-hook) of the evil Captain Hook (a magnificently, nay joyously, venomous Marcus Brigstocke: "I am a pirate from the top of my feathery hat to the toe of my rather camp boot")

Adapter Eric Potts is highly experienced in the sphere of panto, and it shows in this hugely successful collision of the traditional with the current. I don't think I have ever seen a seasonal offering that so successfully engaged both the grownups and their children.

Of course every commercial pantomime seems to need a star name and, apart from Brigstocke (who is almost worth the price of admission by himself), Wimbledon also fields Verne Troyer (Mini-Me from the Austin Powers movie franchise) as the tiny pirate Lofty ("the Terror of Tobago"). Troyer is nothing if not game although his lack of stage experience is fairly obvious in comparison to many of his cast mates.

Francesca Mills is a gloriously stroppy Tinkerbell, whether rollerskating, blowing raspberries, exuding adorable attitude, or verbally threatening members of the audience who didn't join in with the "I believe in fairies" clap-along.

Kiwi comedian Jarred Christmas is a deeply lovable, hapless Smee, endlessly protesting his non-Australian-ness while also working the crowd effortlessly. His performance is an object lesson in how to appeal to both the adults and kids in the audience: he slips in a couple of dirty jokes but I defy anybody to be remotely offended. It's a shame he's not also a singer-guitarist as he would have been a shoo-in for the Jack Black role in School of Rock when it hits the Palladium next year. The version of "Twelve Days Of Christmas" that culminates in Smee and his assistants hurling toilet rolls and then gallons of water around the theatre is wonderfully silly, although it looks positively sane in comparison to watching Troyer, Brigstocke and Christmas rather superbly doing a Beyoncé number (yes you did read that correctly).

The kids in the cast are all excellent, Victoria Fitz-Gerald is a suitably bossy but likeable Wendy, and Sharon Ballard sings like a true diva. The 'speciality act' is the sensational hip-hop dance troupe Flawless but rather than just doing the usual one non-plot-related section, they are integrated into the show as Hook's crew of pirates, and they are simply thrilling to watch.

Ian Talbot's pacy staging boasts convincing flying, gaudy sets, a fairly realistic crocodile, well chosen pop songs, and superior choreography by Lizzie Gee. It really is a treat. The (extremely vocal) kids sitting just behind me absolutely loved it. And so did I.

Running time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Peter Pan runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 10 January 2016.