ON a cold wet winter’s night, where’s the best place to go to escape the torrential rain and raise a smile?

Why not try the Ferneham Hall in Fareham where this year’s pantomime, Cinderella, is guaranteed to transport you to a place filled with warmth and laughter.

Star of the show, Ed Petrie, was an instant hit with my CBBC-loving children. Best known as the presenter of Marrying Mum and Dad and All Over The Place, he was a lively, energetic and engaging Buttons.

Ed may have been all over the world but I doubt he’d ever been to Fareham before on his travels. But I think the chances of coming back again are fairly high as the audience loved him – and his mentions of Gosport, Lee-on-the-Solent and even Newgate Lane got plenty of laughs.

Another familiar face was former Hollyoaks star Andy Moss, who fans will remember played Rhys Ashworth from 2004-2012. Andy transformed into a dashing Prince Charming and was paired up with the beautiful Cinderella played by stage actress Melissa Jane Fleming.

No production of Cinderella is complete without two over-the-top dames. Richard Pocock and Harry Hart expertly wore the flamboyant outfits, heavy eye make-up and ridiculous wigs. They definitely had a touch of Little Britain’s Emily Howard and Florence ‘we’re ladies’ characters about them.

The obligatory rhyming Fairy Godmother (Helen Watson) was utterly charming and reminded me of the fairy godmother character in the Shrek movies – only a lot nicer.

A special mention must go to Jordan Lee Davies who gave a powerful vocal performance as Dandini. He skillfully performed a selection of songs from this year’s smash hit film, The Greatest Showman. He's also the panto’s choreographer as well.

Other nods to popular culture in 2018 included Buttons doing the Fortnite dance, audience members of all ages assisting with the Baby Shark song complete with moves and two Teresa Mays awkwardly dancing to ABBA.

Cinderella runs at the Ferneham Hall until January 6, 2019. To book tickets visit fernehamhall.co.uk or call the box office on 01329 231942.

Emma Allen