With this year’s panto, the Mayflower have done it again. Oh, yes, they have! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is yet another Christmas cracker from the Southampton theatre.

Each year it’s hard to imagine they’ll reach the heights of the previous pantomime but some how they manage to pull it off.

This time round Ashley Banjo, as the handsome prince, tops the bill with his dance troupe Diversity falling in in perfect time as the palace guard. It may be 14 years since they won Britain's Got Talent with their breathtaking routines, but they’ve lost nothing of their pizzazz and their thrillingly acrobatic and imaginative sequences seamlessly slotted into the storyline.

Along with these kings of “pop and lock”, there was undisputed panto royalty in the form of Christopher Biggins making what must be the campest entrance in history as the “Man in the Mirror” hoisted across the stage in glittering style, inviting the audience to join him in his self-deprecating humour.

As is the way with pantomime, the narrative strayed some miles from the original fairytale to accommodate the star-studded cast, not least the incredible Kev Orkian who must rank among the most gifted of entertainers. As Muddles, the jester, he held court throughout with an energetic performance packed with quick fire gags and superbly timed physical comedy. His performance with Ashley, Jordan Banjo and Perri Kiely of an old slapstick number was the best version I’ve seen.

Despite plot detours, Snow White (Kirsty Ingram) did make it to the little cottage in the forest where she met the Magnificent Seven and enjoyed a delightful duet with lead dwarf Jamie John after fleeing the clutches of suitably over-the-top baddie Queen Dragonella (Rachel Stanley). 

But before the inevitable happy ending there was a twist (which I shan’t give away) and multiple magic moments including a massive smoke breathing dragon and flying reindeers pulling Santa’s sleigh through a snowy sky. Add to that singing bunnies and a beautifully costumed ensemble of stunning dancers and you have the perfect family package.