Bath's Theatre Royal has magicked yet another genie-us feast of entertainment with this year’s pantomime production.
Director and perennial dame Chris Harris – Widow Twankey this year – is joined by Ricky Groves, the former Eastenders actor and 2009 Strictly Come Dancing Star, as Abanazar, and CBBC presenter, Trowbridge’s very own Gemma Hunt as Aladdin.
Somewhat slow to ignite, the performance truly sparks to life in the second half, with the action switching from the Magic Cave to Old Peking.
Act 2, after a clever introduction, produces a colourful and visual explosion of song and dance, and never relents amid a quickfire volley of gags and asides and a growing volume of hisses and boos for the villainous Abanazar.
In her first professional panto, Gemma Hunt produces a sprightly performance, and with a good voice to match, it suggests the TV presenter may well have more talent to offer.
Jon Monie (Wishee-Washee) once again works well with the audience and Widow Twankey in equal measure, while Kristian Phillips brings much humour to the role of PC Pong.
The infectious Busy Bee sketch between Monie, Harris and Phillips – the actors doing well to suppress a fit of the giggles – is a joy to behold.