The panto season has begun, and it started with a bang thanks to the Octagon, where panto runs in its blood.

Regulars Jack Glanville and Lizzie Francis were on fine form as they shepherded a flock of fine thesps through the panto portal, where the plot was littered with laughs from the off.

Special mention must go to Gordon Cooper, the show’s hilarious Scottish dame, who played Widow Twanky with a huge number of deft asides that had people rolling with laughter.

For Genie of the Lamp Anton Stephans it was his first taste of panto, having previously appeared in the West End, in Shakespeare and having progressed to sixth place in 2015’s X Factor.

His slightly camp genie was great fun – and of course, had a great set of pipes – in fact, the singing in the whole show was great.

“I’m not from Crewkerne!” repeatedly brought the house down as Abanazer (Thom Ford) struggled to maintain his authority, having been outed as a former paperboy in the Somerset town.

Thom enjoyed being the ‘Dabbing Dandini’ at the Octagon so much last year he returned to play the baddie this year, and he adapted the traditional villain role, wishing to be the world’s finest Shakespearean actor rather than go for the out and out evil cad of many panto.

The 12 Days of Christmas routine had the kids (and the adults) guffawing as the characters slithered and slipped over on cream pies, clasping items for the song, such as underpants and a ‘bra that was made to hold three…’

Jonny Purchase, who is a director of Yeovil School of Musical Theatre, was a great Aladdin, with a huge voice and a great, natural presence that stitched the plot together with fine skill.

I always love the kick-off to the festive season provided by the Yeovil panto, and this year was no exception.

Good work, guys.

Aladdin is on until January 6., 01935 422884