Dancing pink gorillas, toilet humour and Joe Pasquale on a flying motorbike - what more could you possibly want in a panto? This year's offering of Sleeping Beauty at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre is- in the words of one of its most colourful characters- faaaabulous, darling.
Brilliantly bonkers, this year's offering of Sleeping Beauty at Wolverhampton's Grand Theatre is- in the words of one of its most colourful characters- just faaaabulous, darling.
The two hour show has all the hallmarks of the perfect panto.
There's the fiendish baddie with a wickedly good evil laugh (boo, hiss), a pretty young princess searching for her handsome prince (he's behind you) and a pantomime dame whose costumes are so outrageous, they make Lady Gaga's meat ensemble look perfectly sane (oh yes they do).
But much of the show's charm comes through its lead character Pasquale as the lovable buffoon Muddles.
Pasquale was made for panto and panto was made for Pasquale.
The comic dangled from the stage curtain as it lifted 15ft in the air, took a tumble into the orchestra pit and, of course, led a sing-along version of the old classic 'I Know A Song That'll Get On Your Nerves'.
Audiences can also expect a very special and quite breathtaking ending to the first act, as Pasquale's high-flying act goes to a whole new level.
Pasquale is pure slapstick, his toilet humour delights the children, while a healthy dose of innuendo is included for the adults.
The former King of the Jungle interacted nicely with the crowd and delivered some witty one liners, even serenading one man with a shaved head who was sitting in the front row.
"He spent all night doing his hair and forgot to bring it out with him," he quipped, before promptly disappearing slapstick-style into the orchestra pit.
The main challenger to Pasquale's panto throne was a four-year-old called Dylan who was invited on to the stage as part of the age-old panto tradition.
Clearly thrilled to be up there and waving proudly at his 'Nanny Jackie', the youngster and Pasquale quickly developed a charming rapport.
Pasquale handled his little visitor well, ad-libbing easily and helping to win young Dylan one of the biggest cheers of the night.
Queen Passionella, played by cabaret legend Ceri Dupree, was another crowd favourite.
The wigs were wonderful and the frocks were 'faaaabulous', getting bigger and better each time he appeared on stage.
Feathers, fur and even fruits were all turned into mindblowing costumes, each one more elaborate than the last.
Dupree also treated the audience to a nailed on impersonation of Tina Turner, as well as a decent effort at Lady Gaga.
The story of Sleeping Beauty was played out with all the traditions and trimmings of a good quality panto, with the main cast members ably assisted by a cast of dancers, singers and home-grown talent from Willenhall's Classic Academy of Dance.
The Princess was woken from her 100-year slumber by her handsome prince, the evil witch changed her ways and they all lived happily ever after.
It may have a formula but panto is panto and you just can't beat it, whatever your age.
This one ticked all the boxes and then some. Oh yes it did.
Did you know, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is 119 years old? We've had a look at some of the stars who have graced the stage over the years, from Charlie Chaplin to Cilla Black, The Grand Theatre has always pulled in some of the best names in the business!