Five stars

It fits! It fits! Yet again, the gleeful combination of John Barrowman and The Krankies slips into full-on panto mode as if they had never stopped for a moment.

This year's spectacular Cinderella sees Barrowman as Buttons, Janette Krankie as his wee brother Jimmy Zip, and Ian Krankie as Cinders's father Baron Hardup - but all three are chiefly themselves, the intermittent chat about off-stage relationships and their previous pantos together proving as cheeky and engaging as the sharp, sassy gambits that poke fun at topical politics or at well-known celebs. If I say "Janette, Miley, wrecking ball" you'll join up the laughter-dots, but seeing the spoof swinging before your eyes is truly fandabidozi!

As for Barrowman - he's totally in his element: singing, dancing and fooling around with a buoyant charm that spills over into adorable mischief - look out, front stalls, for the water-skooshers during a riotously re-worked Twelve Days Of Christmas, and for a wickedly upfront drag routine with the Uglies during the ball.

If, at times the Uglies - Graham Hoadly and Wayne Fitzsimmons - seem like a gruesome twosome from the cabaret club scene, they are appropriately raucous as the mean team who bully Cinderella.

Luckily, she has got Melanie Masson as her classy, can-do Fairy Godmother. Whee! It's off to the ball in a magical coach and into the arms of a smitten Prince. Eek! Will Boris end Cinders's dream of true love?

If you hate spiders then close your eyes until Buttons has swatted the monster and the happy-ever-after slipper is fitted on to the right (or was it the left?) foot.

Cherish all this now, folks: there is a change of gear next year when David Hasselhoff is Hook in Peter Pan.