The moment you drop the names “Fatboy” and “B*witched” into the pantomime discussion you have my attention, but the thing is, can you keep me gripped?

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Keavy Lynch, the good forest sprite kept our spirits lifted throughout

With the Gravesend panto-mix, yes you can, and not just because of the Eastender’s all-round- nice-guy Ricky Norwood.

The Woodville's Robin Hood and the Babes in the Wood is a must-see this Kent Christmas: it’s witty and satirical but at the same time necessarily silly; it’s rude too, but sophisticated enough that the kids are just slightly too young to really know what’s going on.

So what else?

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Ant Payne aka Silly Billy Scarlett and Keiran Sutcliffe aka Friar Tuck

Norwood, famous for playing Fatboy in longstanding TV soap Eastenders, was strong and engaging, his evil sheriff of Nottingham persona brought forward plenty of boos from the kids but his presence wasn’t so grotesque that they left with nightmares either.

Among the main cast the B*Witched sisters were especially dazzling - they were engaging and a real crowd-pleaser.

Keavy Lynch, the good forest sprite, kept our spirits lifted while Edele Lynch the evil witch was totally convincing, a cheeky bit of C’est La Vie didn’t go amiss either.

Particular props to Edele, the evil Mortianna-like witch who brought in loud, angry cries from the kids and really looked like she could cast a dark spell over us- cracking cackle too.

Friar Tuck, Keiran Sutcliffe, was excellent - full of character and very animated, like all good panto support should be and the same goes for Sarah Jameson as Little John - I don’t mind they didn’t have a big classical smash as they did in Britain’s Got Talent, as their frivolity on stage took its place.

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Neighbours' Dr Karl Kennedy was pulled onto the stage midway through

I must also give huge respect to the two hype men Robert Pearce aka Nurse Nellie and Ant Payne aka Silly Billy Scarlett, who continued to tease and joke around with the crowd throughout the play.

They hammered home the tropes of “No you didn’t, yes you did, it’s behind you, no it isn’t,” with fun and cheeky laughter that gave the play a quirky sense of madness.

An example of the craziness I’m talking about arrived midway through the performance when out of the blue, Billy pulls none other than Neighbours’ own Alan Fletcher, aka Dr Karl Kennedy, from the audience in the archery competition.

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Robin Hood, Eleanor Sandars, brought the big voice

A couple of small gripes from me included a few dead spots from lighting on stage that meant the full panto crew, dancing and singing, wasn’t always as captivating as it could have been as some of them were in the dark.

It was a shame that Robin Hood, Eleanor Sandars, didn’t have a bigger part to play, she’s got a big voice but I didn’t leave the theatre wanting to join her band of merry men... maybe I just needed more time to be convinced.

The same could be said of Amy-Jane Ollies aka Maid Marian whose performance was good but did not have that larger than life, gregarious and big panto-style I look for.

Putting my moans aside, the quality ensemble of dancers, from the very young to the intermediate groups, was spectacular - with a few going all out for it and much to their credit.

The magic of the live band was phenomenal throughout and it was great to listen to.

All in all I couldn’t recommend the play enough and credit where credit’s due, this panto ticks all the boxes, terrific fun, magical performances, big tunes and outlandish jokes for kids and adults alike.

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