Panto season is upon us which means the countdown to Christmas has officially begun!
This year's offering from Newcastle's Theatre Royal is as dazzling, magical and spectacular as ever.
I laughed until my face hurt ... and then I laughed some more. I loved every single second!
With fabulous magic tricks, impressive knife juggling, a breathtaking trampoline act, quick changes and hilarious tongue-in-cheek comedy, there's enough to have every single audience member gasping in amazement and clutching their sides.
Father-and-son double act Clive Webb and Danny Adams are a formidable comedy duo. Adams' boundless energy and never-ending daftness as Dick Whittington is balanced perfectly with Webb's more surly Councillor Fitzfenwick. The kids adored them, and so did the adults.
Adams simply has to be one of the funniest men to ever grace the stage. He made my face ache as he bounced around, pulled silly facial expressions, and wise-cracked repeatedly.
Chris Hayward was super glamorous and just as cheeky as Dame Rita Fitzfenwick and Jarrow lass Alice Stokoe shone as her daughter, and Dick's love interest, Alice Fitzfenwick. Her beautiful singing voice was put to good use with a host of original numbers and she played wonderfully opposite Adams.
Emmerdale's Charlie Hardwick was fabulous as the rhyming Spirit of the Tyne and Steve Arnott was wonderfully wicked as King Rat - we loved to hate him.
Peter Peverley was great as overly-Geordie Little Bobby the Cat, Michael Potts generated lots of laughs with his vacant stare in the role of the Village Idiot and Phil Seaman's Captain Birdseye flew high carrying off impressive flips and tricks on the trampoline alongside Adams who hilariously fell on his face and bounced around uncontrollably.
The show kicked off with a news broadcast, presented by Strictly Come Dancing's Craig Revel Horwood, warning Geordies of King Rat's diabolical plan to take over Newcastle with his army of rodents, with rat-catching expert Dick swooping in to save the day, and win Alice's heart in the process.
The show also includes an awe-inspiring under water 3D sequence. With the help of some 3D glasses handed out in the interval, monsters and fish swam right into our faces, cannon balls were shot at us, and we swam through sunken ruins. People ducked and dived as figures swooped into their faces. The effects were incredible and worlds apart from any I've ever seen in a film.
The bright, colourful set was ever-changing, completely transforming the stage for each scene and a giant shark and rat that encroached on the audience were wonderfully-terrifying. These sequences, as well as the 3D, may be a little scary for younger audience members but everyone around me was utterly excited by it all.
The costumes too are magnificently colourful and the ensemble and young members of Marron Theatre Arts filled out the rest of the roles with great choreography and smiling faces.
The show has that perfect balance of humour for kids and adults. At times it was unbelievably rude, but it went straight over the kids' heads.
This is the perfect panto for all the family. I'd go again tomorrow.
Dick Whittington runs at the Theatre Royal until Sunday, January 17. Click here to book tickets.