Review: Robin Hood ****

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Bradford, Alhambra

Panto is a Christmas tradition my children and I have always observed but when your excited tiny tots morph into teenagers they take some persuading, or, in my case, some pathetic emotional bribery.

“Please. I absolutely love panto. I can’t go on my own and anyway you’ll love it when you get there. Go on, go on, go on. Pleeeeese.”

They were determined to remain cool but even Scrooge at his most miserable couldn’t resist cracking a smile at this year’s offering from Qdos Entertainment and the star of their show Billy Pearce.

Billy specialises in silliness and sauciness and is always a comic treat. The rest of the cast is equally strong.

Hilary O’Neil as the sorceress has a sideline in impersonations and is lots of fun and even my two teens were wide-eyed at real life “giant” Neil Fingleton, the tallest actor in the world at 7ft 7ins. Andrew Ryan was an excellent Nurse Nelly and Jay Worthy as the Sheriff has perfected the villainous laugh.

Special effects, too, were impressive. The flying dragon added some wow factor as did the enchanted waterfall.The strengths far outweigh any weaknesses but Bradford panto regulars may have noticed that the script isn’t as polished as usual. It also needs better gags and more contemporary references, but as a night out in these somewhat depressing, recessionary times, it’s very hard to beat. Oh yes it is.

To February 5