FROM the moment you see the superb snow-themed set you will have a huge grin and tonic in the knowledge that the Royal Court Christmas crew will pull out all the seasonal stops.

It may be winter outside but inside expect a very warm couple of crazy hours.

The plot of Scouse of The Antarctic is delightfully daft.

A cold war, literally, breaks out when a Russian submarine and an American sub arrive to claim the North Pole because of the oil and minerals beneath the ice.

Stalwart actress and comedienne Lindzi Germain is in fine form as Bolshy Russian Olga and John McGrellis as camp commander Brad from the USA doesn't beat around the George Bush when it comes to laughs.

When a cast are enjoying themselves as much as the audience you know (even for submarine captains) that it's going to be plain sailing.

Yet they are unprepared for a Scouser called Jimmy (Michael Starke) in Hawaiian shirt.

And a visit from a JMU student (Hayley Hampson) on an enviromental mission.

Well done to Hayley who used to work at the Court serving drinks.

Now she is a talent to look out for.

And who could predict a talking snowman who sounds like Lily Savage and one of the best local double acts I have seen for years ... two polar bears who have skate expectations to be like Torville snd Dean.

Kylie (Helen Carter) and Jason (Michael Ledwich) are a huge hit with every comment, ad lib and hilarious one-liner.

A yeti and an on-stage Mexican band add to the whimsy and wacker-ness of this journey into a winter wonderland.

Director Howard Gray hands the musical baton to Alex Smith who gives us some great pop tunes along with new numbers by the show's writer Fred Lawless and hus son Mike.

This is Fred's fifth year penning the pun filled shows and in my view the best. Michael Starke is exceptional.

His impersonations from John Bishop to Cilla are polished and he makes you feel you have gate-crashed a private Christmas party.

Michael Fletcher is outstanding playing two sailors - Kowalski and Bolokov.

Try saying that after a bowl of punch.

This is just what we need in austere times. Go and de- frost yourself.

A lough-out-loud, let-your-hair down escape.

Five Stars

Snow Joking, it's a festive cracker.

The show ends its Royal Court run on January 17. Tickets are from the box office on 08707871866.