Big-budget pantomimes in major theatres may have secured pricey soap-star villains and cutting edge technology this year.
But really, all that matters to audiences is watching a talented cast of hilarious actors who make them laugh till they cry and fill them with Christmas wonderment.
And Greenwich Theatre is lucky enough to have snapped up the best (by far) baddy this side of Sherwood Forest to star in its show, Robin Hood – A Pantomime Adventure.
Not only is Anthony Spargo a splendidly spiteful Sheriff of Nottingham, this captivating comedian is also a superb ventriloquist, bringing his trusty vulture sidekick to life on stage.
Watching the naturally funny actor flounce about, sing and dance to LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It and cruelly lock up Maid Marion, it was impossible not to think of Hugh Laurie.
Anthony has all of the Hollywood star’s charm, height and humour – plus out of this world dance moves.
The kids loved booing and hissing at him (the screams were torturous), and I think the mums all secretly fancied him – even when he was supposedly crapping himself on stage.
Yes, there is a lot of toilet humour and I did see one grumpy dad in particular who was definitely not impressed, but the children were loving it and that’s what counts.
Every good pantomime should have a dame, and just like its Sheriff, I think Greenwich’s colourful drag act is the best in town.
Andrew Pollard, who plays Marion’s naughty nursemaid Germoline, not only wrote the whole show, but he is directing it and stealing it.
Choosing to pick on unsuspecting head teacher Mr Davies (from Coopers Lane Primary School), kids and teachers alike were almost wetting themselves with laughter every time this voluptuous ‘lady’ came on to him.
And despite his head being firmly in his hands with every flamboyant entrance from the naughty, naughty nursey, I could tell he loved being the centre of Germoline’s attention.
The costumes were absolutely incredible, from Nursey’s flowery, turf-covered dresses, beehive hats and thermometer headdresses, to Robin’s emerald green outlaw attire.
It wasn’t just the handmade, beautiful outfits adding sparkle to the show.
As well as the glittering sets, there are magical tricks and a fearsome dragon to feast your eyes on.
Our hero Robin, played by Michael Harris, had the youngsters’ loyalty throughout the show – I’ve never heard such loud shouts of support.
Sitting alone amidst a sea of screaming children is not my idea of an enjoyable afternoon, but on Wednesday (December 19), I got over bah, humbug dislike of little ones and couldn’t help but laugh along with them.
And then my battered eardrums were kissed better by Michael’s velvety tones.
As he sang Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, shivers went flying down my spine and a vivid memory of Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge popped into my head – gorgeous.
For me, the leading lady was Caroline Koutsoudes who played hot-blooded Consuela, the Sheriff’s saucy Spanish housekeeper.
With a killer accent, hysterical facial expressions and just the right balance of good and evil, she made the perfect witch.
And even though she didn’t win her beloved Sheriff’s spicy sausage, I was thrilled to see everything turn out in her favour.
Be sure not to miss this brilliant adventure.
Performances run until January 6.