There is a strong sense of tradition in the Floral's bright and breezy Christmas panto.

It may only have a main cast of eight, yet the pared-down re-working of the famous fairy tale of an arrogant prince cursed until he finds true love, shines from the outset thanks to solid, assured perfromances in songs and choreography,

There's also the welcome return to Martin Dodd's UK Productions for two famous Floral faces - Sean Jones and Olivia Birchenough.

Sean, who excelled as Mickey in Blood Brothers, is the lively and likeable Louis La Plonk.

Last here as Muddles, he again makes immediate contact (as he always did with Mickey) with a novel entrance and his rapport with the kids is a joy to watch as is his chemistry with Quinn Patrick as his mother Polly.

This mighty Quinn is also a stand-up comedian and it shows as his timing is 'spot on' aided by a series of suitably sparkly dame costume changes.

Olivia is from C5's Milklshake and is on her third outing in New Brighton. She plays Belle with the right balance of feistyness and tenderness.

Strong male leads also cone from Shaun Dalton as The Beast and Phil Atkinson as ego-centric Hugo Pompidou.

And there's a charming portrayal of Belle's father Clement played by David Alcock.

Visual strenths of this two and half hour production are the costumes and sets. Belle's ballgown even brought gasps from some of the junior adults.

And this show, directed by Andrew Margerison, appeals to children on many levels especially the ghost sequence which never fails to bring out the excitment levels.

A very funny script featuring nods to Wirral locations also has plenty of Allo Allo French styled references as well as a cheeky nod to Les Miserables - the senior adults can enjoy it on another level.

Gavin and Stacey star Melanie Walters is the sweet and witty Fairy Bon Bon. This panto godmother has a sparkle all of her own.

This is a warm and engaging Beauty and the Beast and the cast - who bravely overcame press night technical problems - look as though they are having a ball .  .  . a fact that quickly translates to everyone in the audience.


Globe verdict

Delightfully inventive

4 stars

Until January 2, 2022

0151 606 6666