Cinderella, Mercury at Abbey Field, Circular Road East, Colchester. Until January 5. 01206 573948

If you're going for that magic touch you couldn't do much better than employ the town's very own Mr Magic, Michael J Fitch, as a consultant.

Or for that matter stage your show in a whopping great big Big Top style tent.

When I went to see Oliver! in October, in the Mercury's all purpose new venue on Abbey Field, I was excited about the prospect of panto then, and I'm pleased to say the show does not disappoint.

It helps that the Mercury's resident ambassadors of merriment Anthony Stuart Hicks and Dale Superville (brilliantly playing the Ugly Sisters) are back and on tip-top form. The bath scene plus their duet is worth the entry of the ticket price alone.

But it's not just about the two regulars steering the good ship panto happily along this year because as well as a new venue, there's plenty of sparkly additions in terms of cast and of course director, the Mercury's new Creative Director Ryan McBryde, who has already impressed with Pieces of String, Moll Flanders and Oliver!, and has now weaved his magic on this delightful production.

Right from the start as the Fairy Godmother (a loveable Deborah Tracey) flings magical beams of light to all corners of the stage through a clever sleight of hand, it's all set up for a show unlike any other.

Mari McGinlay and Jack Reitman as Cinderella and Prince Charming thankfully keep the traditional love story on track but all around them fun and nonsense abounds and I loved it.

It's hard to be mad at these Ugly Sisters so Genevieve McLean as Baroness Hardup provides a delicious baddie, while the very impressive Nerine Skinner lights-up the stage as the cross dressing, very modern woman, Dandini. Can we sign them both up for next year please.

Last but by no means least is Nicholas McLean as Buttons, who is about to go into the West End's Wicked and after hearing his voice you can jolly well see why.

But it's the little touches that make this show shine like the end of Act I, which if I say any more will ruin Christmas itself, and the transformation of Cinders Ella into Cinderella, which is very, clever.

If you're after a little magic in your lives this Christmas, take a trip to the Big Top - it's the greatest show on Earth - well in Colchester anyway.