If you only plan to go to one show at the Forum Theatre in Billingham, make it this one.
This production of Goldilocks had a bit of everything that is good about British panto.
Boos, hissing, a screaming audience, children on the edge of their seats and adults standing up out of theirs.
Plenty of “oh no he didnt” chants from the adoring crowd as well.
It was probably the best panto I have seen, for so many reasons. For one, the laughs just kept on coming and at times they had me in tears, they were so good.
Just as importantly, the comedy was topical. The scene where Bill and Ben did their own version of television adverts - including the ‘don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot’ - had my eight-year-old granddaughter screaming with mirth.
And their impression of Irish dancing will stay in the mind for a long time.
They, along with children’s favourite Muddles, had the public eating out of their hands (at times literally - in the scene where crisps, sweets and even water were fired into the audience.)
But they were not the only favourites in a show where there were no weak links.
A superb baddie (Mayor Ringer played by Patrick Monaghan), the beautiful leading lady Goldilocks (the golden voiced Amelia Lily), the outrageously brilliant Craig Ansell (Dame Tilly Tart).
The basic idea of the story was the classic tale of a beautiful girl finding a cottage in the forest inhabited by three amazing bears. Her hope is they can help her save her mum’s under-threat circus (a storyline that had so many aww, boo and ooo moments, I lost count).
The audience grew to adore the love interest from Prince Paul and his link-up with Goldilocks.
The Spirit of the Forest and Three Bears had great moments of their own while two wonderful sections of the show were those provided by aerial act Angie and by juggler Nico, who astonished the audience with his luminous juggling in the dark.
The Forum version of 12 days of Christmas was fast, furious and exciting while the interaction with the public throughout was top notch …. even being squirted with water by a panto camel.
To hear hundreds of children screaming “the bear’s behind you” at Dame Tilly - was a joy.
For me, a show can be measured by how fast it seems to pass. This show was so good, it flew by.
Thank you Billingham Forum. What a great way to start Christmas.
Goldilocks and The Three Amazing Bears runs until Sunday, January 3. For tickets and more details, contact (01642) 552663, or visit www.forumtheatrebillingham.co.uk