SPECTATOR would like to wish readers a merry Christmas, and hopes they enjoy our festive edition as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.

Not that we have gone overboard on the Christmas stories, because no one likes an overkill of sentimentality, least of us at D&S Towers – unless of course it is a picture of Little Alf.

We can't get enough of him in a festive outfit or prancing around cheerfully.

Spectator was lucky enough to be invited to Richmond Georgian Theatre Royal's pantomime Sleeping Beauty earlier this month.

The theatre is now well-known for putting on a spectacular panto production, and this year did not disappoint.

All the essential elements of a panto are in there – audience participation, songs, jokes, dancing, and a larger-than-life dame in the form of Gary 'Gecko' Bridgens as Queen Tryphosa.

Mr Bridgens is now on his ninth production at the Georgian and this year is making his debut as director and has done a brilliant job.

He sets the tone of the whole performance, making fun of the rest of the cast; targeting and embarrassing certain unfortunate members of the audience; and keeping up a fast pace with his quick wit and improvisational style.

Another highlight for Spectator was Freya Mawhinney's Dolly Partridge, a wonderful country-singing, straight-talking fairy godmother with great comic timing.

The whole ensemble cast shine and deliver a panto that doesn't take itself too seriously and embraces all that is good about a classic pantomime – oh yes it does!