GIVEN everything that's gone on over the last week or so – or the last couple of years, come to that – wouldn't it be nice if we could forget all about the world for a couple of hours, and escape to a fantasy land where the only thing required of you is to clap, cheer and enjoy yourself?

Thank goodness then, for the unstoppable team at Lighthouse, Poole, for battling against all the odds to bring this year's pantomime, Beauty & The Beast, to the stage.

From the rousing reception the packed auditorium gave the cast, right through from the energetic opening number, to the last bars of the upbeat finale, it was clear we have never needed our slightly quirky, British tradition more.

Written and directed by CBeebies star Chris Jarvis, who also starred as Dame Betty Bonbon, the show tells a tale based on the classic story, with a cursed prince doomed to live as a beast forever unless he can find true love before the final rose petal falls.

But of course, as is always the case with panto, it's less about the storyline and more about everything else that makes up these wonderful, family productions.

Slapstick comedy and toilet humour for the little ones, clever one liners and innuendoes for the grown ups, a villain to boo and hiss at (enter Eastenders star Michelle Collins as Nightshade), impressive dance routines from talented local youngsters – the list goes on.

There was even time for some water pistols, birthday shout-outs and a Christmas sing-a-long, what more could you want?

Pure family fun from start to finish, this is just what we need this Christmas.

Beauty & The Beast is at Lighthouse, Poole until December 31.