A GLITTERING curtain emblazoned with the name of Peter Pan hangs before the stage as the lights go down, children wave illuminated wands, a hush spreads through the excited audience and anticipation reaches fever pitch: the pantomime is about to begin.

This year’s Wyvern’s festive spectacular is the ever-popular story of pirates and Indians, fairies and lost boys. This tale of escape to a magical fantasy land is just the ticket to whisk you from a mundane winter’s evening into a whirlwind of colour and comedy.

This year’s star performer is Adam Woodyatt, stepping away from Albert Square and his Eastenders role as Ian Beale to take on the role of the flamboyant, sword-wielding villain, Peter Pan’s arch-enemy, the pirate Captain Hook.

Dressed in crimson, a mighty feathered hat and yards of golden braid, Woodyatt relishes the boos and hisses as he struts on stage.

Ryan Anderson plays the dashing and athletic Peter Pan, and West End performer Lucy Pollard plays Wendy Darling, who leaves domestic London for an adventure in Neverland.

It is Smee, played by Antony Lawrence, who is the heart and soul of the show. From his first moment on stage, he has the audience in the palm of his hand - beginning with a series of terrible one-liners, through perfectly timed slapstick numbers, some comic songs and plenty of audience interaction, he is a complete treat to watch and a very charismatic performer.

Danielle Black takes on two roles as Eliza and then as Tigerlily, bringing lots of style and humour to her role, while Abigail Matthews plays Mrs Darling, and later takes to the air as the mischievous Tinkerbell, a fairy with sparkle and attitude.

The pirate crew and Peter’s Lost Boys all give strong, polished performances, and prove to be excellent dancers.

Following the interval, revitalised by plenty of sweets and refreshments, the audience is more enthusiastic than ever, and embrace a chance to help bring down cruel Captain Hook with a barrage of sponge missiles. What with traditional custard pies in the face, lighting effects, fireworks and high-flying, this panto offered one pleasure after another - truly an absolute treat.

Peter Pan runs until December 31, with two performances each day except Mondays. Tickets range from £19 to £31.50, depending on time and date. Concessions, family and group tickets are available, although some performances are already sold out. To book, call 01793 524481 or visit swindontheatres.co.uk