So when Wishee-Washee asks the boys and girls if they want to be in his gang, they need no coaxing whatsoever to leap up, cry Oppa! and do Psy's oddly gawky, prance-y Horse Dance.
Mighty respect to Ian 'Sheepie' Smith, the cheeky-cheery Wishee: he sustains this interaction to the very end, yomping through the moves with an enthusiasm that simply reinforces the rapport he has with his audience, whatever their age. Smith – back for a fourth year – is now a mainstay of the seasonal family fun on offer here.
Youngsters bond with his lovable galoot persona, adults appreciate the way he can nod at a saucy line without being mucky. It's a nicely balanced performance in a more than decent mix of the mandatory panto ingredients.
The song and dance routines are short and snappy, Abanazar (Oliver Patterson) has a ridiculous side to his villiany that, like the biff-bang-wallop comedy of the Peking plods – Alan Mirren and Jamie Lemetti – plays to the gleeful delight of kids who get visual tomfoolery more readily than word play. Could that be why our Dame (Mark Hudson) has almost as many costume changes as punchlines? With each frock more fantastical than the one before – and all of them awash with witty details. As for Aladdin (Martin Clark) – what a hero he turns out to be, surfing through the Pantosphere on a (cleverly contrived) magic carpet, and all for his Princess (Storm-Skyler McClure). It goes at a merry lick and is handsomely staged – so Oppa! as Psy would say.