Reporter Sarah Howells went to check out Sleeping Beauty, which is playing at the Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple, until January 4.

Dame Antony Stuart-Hicks. Picture: Andy Robinson of J&A Cameras +Photography - www.jandacameras.co.ukDame Antony Stuart-Hicks. Picture: Andy Robinson of J&A Cameras +Photography - www.jandacameras.co.uk

CHEERING children, bellowing booing and slapstick comedy can mean only one thing – the pantomime is back in town (oh yes it is!).

The star performance in Sleeping Beauty comes from the brilliant panto dame Nurse Nellie (Antony Stuart-Hicks), whose jokes are almost as outrageous as her outfits.

Strutting the stage in staggering heels, Hicks gives a cracking performance with a spiky anecdotes and witty jokes. But be warned audience: sit in the front few rows and you could be at the subject of that sharp tongue.

Alongside Hicks is X Factor star Niki Evans who plays the evil fairy Carabosse, stealing the show with her astounding voice and devilish cackles.

Wickedness abounded with glee in the form of Bad Fairy Carabosse. Picture: Andy Robinson of J&A Cameras +Photography - www.jandacameras.co.ukWickedness abounded with glee in the form of Bad Fairy Carabosse. Picture: Andy Robinson of J&A Cameras +Photography - www.jandacameras.co.uk

Her nemesis who saves the day is the good Fairy iPod, played by Susan Penhaligon, better known for her appearances in Emmerdale and Casualty.

But the Good Fairy iPod is not your average fairy, a bustling old Cornish fairy, who intersperses her spell-making with playing on her PlayStation.

Court Jester Muddles (Paul Lawrence-Thomas) gives a warming performance and is well received by the children and parents alike.

And of course, the dewy-eyed Prince Florizan (Jonny Candels) and dreamy Princess Aurora (Jamie Lee-Pike) provide the love-lorn looks and audience ‘awws’ that make this such a magical family experience.

Don’t miss out on the magic of Sleeping Beauty by booking your tickets at the Box Office on 01271 324242 or at www.northdevontheatres.org.uk.