THE spirit of panto was alive and well in Llandudno as reporter Dale Spridgeon reviewed the first performance of Sleeping Beauty at Venue Cymru.

BELTING songs, dance routines, buffoonery, slapstick, cross-dressing, in-jokes, topical references, audience participation and a sprinkling of mild sexual innuendo...

It’s the recipe for a cracking panto night out, and Sleeping Beauty had it all.

Fans of the traditional British pantomime will not be disappointed, although this production has something of a modern twist.

The first show got underway for the matinee on Saturday, with a packed house of excited youngsters and the young heart.

The baddie Carrabosse (Jamie Birkitt), got the show underway with the opening song and the scene was set by Aurora the good fairy enchantress (Abiola Efunshile).

The story followed the trial of a beautiful Princess (Harriet Bunton) given a sixteenth birthday present by her evil godmother. Under a cruel curse, she is forced to sleep for 100 years. With the pressure on, its up to the handsome Prince Harry of Penmaenmawr (Adam Baker) to break the spell, with help from the Princess’s friends Muddles the court jester (Kieran Powell), Nurse Temple Savage (Sherrie Hewson) and Queen Myfanwy from Deganwy,(Nigel Ellacott. )

Despite a few initial hiccups with the sound, which were quickly rectified, the show got underway with plenty of panto sparkle and razzmatazz, superb sets and great costumes.

Audiences roared at the madness and mayhem as the spectacle unfolded on stage, and a poor soul called Neil on the front row became the butt of many a joke.

There was amazing lighting and special, magical effects, a giant animated teeth-gnashing giant T-Rex dinosaur and puppets that magically came to life!

Sherrie Hewson, known for her many appearances on TV including Loose Women and Benidorm, got plenty of laughs, with antics such as squirting the audience with a giant hypodermic. She was clearly enjoying bouncing the jokes back and forth with panto pro, the fantastic dame, played by Nigel, with plenty of double entendres and local references. Look out for Nigel's comedy striptease - don't worry - no flesh exposed! His costumes were amazing, and frequently change. Highlights included his picnic hamper outfit complete with a royal corgi and thefunniest as a belisha beacon road crossing.

There was hilarity when he lost his wig, and whilst bending over to retrieve it, one of his over large balloon bosoms popped. You were never quite sure whether the mishaps on stage were real or part of the show!

Muddles, the talented, young ventriloquist Kieran was busy throughout. In one scene, he was kept rushing up and down from the stage into the audience to retrieve five toilet rolls on a string. Children hooted with laughter, and the auditorium in uproar, as they scrabbled to catch the rolls, during a rendition of the Twelve Days of Christmas - which even included a reference to four Pioneers!