Throughout history it has been a Christmas tradition to sit around the fire and tell ghost stories.

This festival period Swindon stalwart on the local theatre scene, Geoff Marsh, is bringing a new and totally child-friendly take on the ghost story, by writing his own spirited panto, A Spooky Christmas.

Geoff, his wife, Jane Osbourne, former TV's Opportunity Knocks winner, his daughters Danielle and Samantha, were the backbone for traditional slapstick, Christmas pantos, presented by Stage Stuck Theatre Group.

Now this 'wacky' family are rivalling the Addams family in this festive family panto.

Geoff said: "For years we had done all the traditional pantos – Aladdin, Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Peter Pan etc. Then I wrote an original panto last year – The Princess and The Dragon. I was amazed how many people said they really liked the fact that it was a new story and they hoped I would do some more original pantos. My first thought was a panto featuring all the monsters you would normally associate with Halloween. I love films like Hotel Transylvania, The Addams Family and Despicable Me, and that gave me the idea for this year’s show.''

An unusual twist was Geoff choice of musical director, Thomas Graff, the pianist worked on both last year's hit panto and is making maestro music again this year.

Thomas is a classical musician, a licentiate from the Royal School of Music who has performed at the Welsh Millennium Centre and the Colston Hall in Bristol. He is also accompanist for the Wessex Male Choir, and is enjoying his sojourn into the world of pantomime.

Thomas said: "It’s a slightly eccentric but utterly charming group which is why I was delighted to be asked back to do it again this year.''

The Crazy Gang, aka the 14-strong panto cast including the Marsh family, are presenting A Spooky Christmas at the Arts Centre in Devizes Road, Old Town from Thursday, November 30 to Saturday, December 1 from 7pm with a matinee on Saturday at 2pm.

It is a family show in more ways than one as Danielle, who has a Level 4 Diploma in Musical Performance, is the choreographer for the panto.

She said: "It is a real family show. I have my dad, mum, my sister, cousins, uncle and grandmother, all involved in the show in some form. It’s great to work together to produce something we hope will make people laugh.''

Jane who is directing the show assures all mums and dads that the monsters are not the least bit scary for very young folk.

The panto is based in a haunted castle where little orphan Megan is taken by two villains who have kidnapped her to help them steal any valuables, but all is not as it appears... and the ensuing comedy chaos includes songs and audience participation.

Tickets are £14, £12 concessions from 01793 524481 or visit - Flicky Harrison