SNOW White and her seven real dwarfs have arrived in the resort for a festive Ho-Ho-Ho-down at the Floral Pavilion.

This year's seasonal offering is a warm, fast-paced show with a strong cast who certainly pull out all the stops when it comes to energy and enthusiasm.

It's a traditional pantomime and what it lacks in special effects it makes up for in inspired high-energy audience participation.

Headliner Claire Sweeney is a versatile performer - a song and dancer in the true tradition and with a cheeky sense of humour ever evident in all she does.

As the evil queen she knows how to turn up the dial on the boo-o-meter.

And she can certainly belt out a song in a Shirley Bassey diva-esque sort of way.

There were times,too, that her performance was reminiscent of fellow Liverpudlian Cilla Black.

Actor Sean Jones, who achieved long-running critical acclaim for playing Mickey Johnstone in Willy Russell's Blood Brothers has so many other strings to his bow.

Sean played Macbeth earlier this year and is equally at home here as Muddles, resplendent in a colourful jester costume that Ken Dodd would have been proud of.

On stage Sean is like the human equivalent of one of the rabbits in the TV battery ads.

From his opening athletic entrance to the 'shout out' and song sheet scenes he exudes the spirit of pantomime.

His musical song mentioning Wirral place names proved a great novelty segment as were other local references.

But most importantly, Sean immediately connects - like Claire - with old and young alike.

The scenes with nurse Dolly - played by the accomplished Philip Meeks - provide much of the comedy,

Dolly's impressive range of outrageous costumes are full of surprises and each outfit raises plenty of laughs and gasps.

Sadly, some of the topical gags are not as effective as they should be lacking in that killer punch line needed in their delivery.

The endearing prince (Luke Walsh) and innocent Snow White (Naomi Gisbey) are a good match whose fairy tale love is sealed with an 'aah factor' kiss.

Which, it is pointed out in the programme notes, is more appealing than the original storyline where an apple in Snow White's throat is dislodged in a cart driven by the Prince over a pothole.

The dwarfs when they finally arrive prove to be a likeable line-up of diverse characters from Soppy to Twitcher.

Local favourites The Hoylake School of Dance are also in fine form.

The hit elements in Martin Dodd's production are a frenetic, physical 12 Days of Christmas - including obligatory water-pistol rampage and a very lively Ghost Bench sequence.

This year's pantomime appeals to the child in us all ... isn't that right, boys and girls.

Four stars

Family Friendly Festive Fun

Until January 5.

0151 666 0000