THERE'S no Royal Court panto this year.

Instead it's a variety show so .. welcome to the song and dance, fun-filled Festive Follies.

Covid put paid to many sesonal events across the UK but then, fortunately, we in the cultured Liverpool City Region found ourselves in Tier 2 territory.

The show could go on even without the luxury of intense pre-production work and the obvious restraints of health and safety guidelines.

Wirral Globe:

Scene from 'Selection Box' at Royal Court, Liverpool. Picture: Jason Roberts

So all those who are back on the boards and the behind-the-scenes crews deserve rounds of applause.

Stephen Fletcher and his squad of premiership players have come up with an alternative to the venue's smash hit Yuletide productions.

Wirral Globe:

Scene from 'Selection Box' at Royal Court, Liverpool. Picture: Jason Roberts

The Selection Box is quite simply a big hearted seasonal 'revue'.

A bag of all sorts ... a pick 'n' mix of the theatrical kind.

Musical director Howard Gray and his spangly-coated band on an upper stage tier (more tiers ... oh, yes there are) bop and boogie their way through director Stephen's assortment of sketches and good-to-be-back monolgues.

Wirral Globe:

Scene from 'Selection Box' at Royal Court, Liverpool. Picture: Jason Roberts

It's not exactly crisp and even more scatter-gun and boisterous.

The premise is that our out-of-work stars meet up in the 'dark' theatre, where they shake off the dust covers, break the fourth wall and put on a show just like Cliff Richard did in those cheesey films of the 60s.

It allows many of the cast to offer impersonations.

The delivery girl becomes a diva as Lindzi Germain presents her Shirley Bassey 'turn.'

Roy Brandon is the very odd job man transforming into quick cameos of Ken Dodd, Bruce Forysth and Stan Laurel.

Michael Starke as himself plays a Beatle medley on ukulele while Barry White arrives courtesy of security man Joe Speare.

Asda princess Hayley Sheen is in fantastic, soaring and sensitive voice on Hallelujah and All I Want for Christmas is You.

Trolley dolly Eithne Browne switches from her cleaning apron and duster to an elegant dress while holding a candle for a lovely version of I Still Believe in Father Christmas.

A raucous 12 drunken Days of Christmas from Michael and Roy; a strictly unusual Bolero ftom Linzdi and Joe and an all-cast Nativity segment seal the contents of this selection box.

This is the Royal Court's own on stage Christmas card - a tinsel-coated 'thank you.'

The cast (a different line up but the same show alternate each week) and with the audience they succeed in pulling a socially distanced cracker together.

A glitter ball produces snowflakes on the walls and a backdrop projection of ghosts of past Christmas shows add a poignant atmospheric flourish to a much welcome piece of entertainment.

Crazy Christmas Capers from the Court Jesters.

Four stars

The show is on until January 30.

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