Like the little girl with the little curl, when this show is good it is very, very good.

But folks, there are moments when it's as if Johnny McKnight's indomitable will to entertain is what's tiding us over the sticky patches.

The truth is, making Scrooge into a nippy sweetie – and a hard-bitten, self-centred, foil (OK, Lurex) wrapped one at that – sets the cross-dressed comedy stakes so high that the emotional clout we sentimentally expect from the Dickens doesn't really get a look in.

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Shrug that aside, however, and you're in for a laughter-crammed couple of hours, with McKnight in megawatt form (and chubbette body suit) as the meanie who cries "humbug!", but for the most part fires off volleys of pithily droll one-liners and knowingly arch asides. For all the cod-nastiness that is paraded in Act One, his Aganeza is actually very generous when it comes to sharing out the funny business he's written and directed. And once the Ghosts of Panto Past, Present and Future are in the picture, this all-female version of A Christmas Carol hits its high-heeled stride.

McKnight slips into the dame-ing it sassiness that has made him the panto queen of Stirling, but a fandabidozi vignette from Helen McAlpine as the Panto Present spirit – an uncanny likeness of Wee Jimmy Krankie – has "scene-stealer" stamped all over it. There are great turns from the rest of the cast, too, as they re-enact Aganeza's past, present and future, frequently making a song and dance of it in costumes by Kenny Miller, a man who appreciates that "more is always more, less is never enough" – a motto to which Aganeza would freely subscribe.