Cinderella, Kings Theatre, Southsea, until January 1

We all got to go to the ball on yet another great panto night at the Kings, a venue just perfect for all those totally batty pleasures that pantomime bring.

Yes, we wanted to be in his gang; yes, our half of the auditorium can sing far better than the other half; watch out, there’s a ghost behind you; and no, Cinders, please don’t go into that cupboard.

It was audience participation all the way through with a fun-packed panto that hit the stage running and didn’t stop until the fat lady and her equally-ugly sister got their come-uppance.

Hollyoaks’s Marcus Patrick was probably the star of the show as an endlessly-engaging Dandini; but Uglies Richard Stride and Sean Luckham weren’t far behind with their monstrous meanness and vanity.

Last of the Summer Wine’s Tom Owen was an amiable Baron and Coronation Street’s Tracy Shaw added plenty of sparkle as the most glamorous of fairy godmothers. Emmerdale’s Stuart Wade kept it all ticking over nicely as Buttons; and Emmerdale’s Leah Bracknell added just the right amount of panto villainy to the proceedings.

Paul Callen’s Prince Charming - always a tough role to make interesting - will doubtless grow in charisma as the run progresses; and you’d have to hope that some of the singing picks up as well. At the moment, the lovely Talia Janson as Cinders wipes the floor with everyone else vocally - which is probably appropriate.

But for an opening night, this was a strong showing, packed full of all the favourite routines, everyone of which was all right on the night.

Phil Hewitt