And because Beauty's fall into a near-death sleep, and subsequent awakening, don't trundle out on automatic pilot, it means we're drawn into the narrative, and even begin to question if there will be the happy ending we take for granted.
At the same time, however, we never really leave Kirkcaldy where rock-solid panto traditions have thrived for years at the Adam Smith.
Time was McHugh not only wrote the scripts, he Dame'd it here as well. Now the boobs – both padded and punning – are robustly paraded by Billy Mack as a superbly raucous Dame LouLou, a floosie-chantoosie who certainly can can-can.
Princess Beauty's father (a suavely snooty Graham Cramond) doesn't stand a chance against LouLou's full-frontal vamping.
It seems, almost to the very end, that Beauty doesn't stand a chance against the malevolent Countess Donna la Trix (Nikki Auld) and the foppish son she browbeats into woo-ing the Princess on the rooftops of Paris – nicely represented by Alison Irwin's rotating set designs.
Can Hugo, a mere waiter, rescue Beauty? Especially once the Countess has cursed him into an amalgam of Beast/Phantom/Hunchback, a twist that truly shocked the young audience around me.
If boos could kill, all tricks would have been up for the Countess. But in the Pantosphere, good still triumphs over evil – and even the Dame gets her man, with Mack and Cramond proving a double act that surpasses the Eiffel Tower as a landmark attraction.