PETER Bond and Bob Heather’s version of Hans Andersen’s story presses all the expected panto buttons, though some of the routines may have little to surprise or delight more jaded audience members.

Still, I saw the preview night of 16 performances and with more youngsters in attendance the show could well develop a firmer sense of rhythm, encouraging such game performers as Colin Pritchard, Matthew Ellison and Colin Russell to take a few risks. Heather Whitham is very engaging throughout, as is Helen Ford in her double act with Tom Hopgood.

Director Georgette Ellison, whose first pantomime this is, does well to marshal a cast of almost 50, while musical director Matt Lemon and choreographer Jess Connelly ensure that the musical numbers keep things lively.

Lizzie Harden’s singing gives the show a splendid start, and, as the Tooth Fairy, Kathryn Thomas is also in good voice.

The latter is supported very ably by Carenza Thomas. All the young dancers deserve praise but Ellie Luffman is a particularly joyful presence on stage.