They call it ‘the greatest panto on earth’. But let’s be honest – the Mayflower doesn’t really do panto. It just does a whopping big show, fills it with stars and adds a festive theme.

Calling a star-studded concert like this a panto is like saying Neighbours has been a moderately successful TV show...

Everything about the Mayflower oozes class. The stage, the props, the pizazz... and the celebs.

In order... the stage was decorated with more lights than any Mayflower show has ever seen. And boy, did it make the arena sing.

So too did the props – without giving away any Christmas secrets, just wait until you see the elephant.

The pizazz was in the form of the dancing, the costumes, the singing – West End quality all.

And the celebs. Jason Donovan was the big draw, as the baddie Count Ramsay of Erinsborough (he was in Neighbours – geddit?) intent on stealing three talking, dancing bears for his own circus. He hammed it up for all he was worth and was good value – but the real star of the show was Richard Cadell.

He had his sidekicks Sooty and Sweep in tow in parts, but for the most part he was the glue keeping it all together, the panto ‘Buttons’ although in this he was Joey the Clown. He’s the ultimate entertainer and no mean magician.

Corrie’s Faye Brookes was Goldilocks and there were some impressive big-top circus acts to have everyone ooo-ing ad ahh-ing – but it’s Cadell who will be best remembered. There’s so much more to him than a couple of glove puppets.

The plot is on the thin side, but who really needs an intense storyline when you’re just there to have fun?

Mention must be made too of Adam Strong as the panto dame Betty Barnum, full of boisterous energy.

If you’re after a traditional panto, it’s not for you – there wasn’t a single ‘it’s behind you’ all night.

But for glitz, glamour and laugh-out-loud moments which mums and dads can appreciate as much as the kids, it won’t be beaten.

Until December 31.

Colin Channon