WHEN it comes to value-for-money pantos this show is right up there.

Liverpool-based Shone have come up with a traditional production that has plenty of surprises for modern day audiences.

No plot twists or re-writing of the famous tale which seems to be the current trend of updating the age old stories.

Katie Price is the 'big' name as Carabosse the evil witch who welcomes the boos and hisses.

Dressed to the nines, she certainly connects with the kids from the moment she arrives on stage accompanied by flames of fire.

She is often the butt of good-humoured ribbing from fellow cast members.

You expect her to crack up laughing but she continues to milk the boo factor while progressing the narrative.

She puts a curse on likeable Princess Beauty (Hope Thompson).

And there's the gallant dragon-slaying prince (Joseph Hewlitt) to kiss her back to life after a 100-year kip.

It is a well-paced show with wow factor costumes and a script that is smartly structured - sometimes very risque, but always funny.

The adults loved the innuendos.

I laughed out loud at some of the genuine pieces of ad-libbing and quick-thinking.

And there is a distinct 'circus' feel to proceedings along with physical humour and slapstick from the outstanding Bippo - the Caste Clown.

His comedy routines with the Dame - Queen Fi-Fi of Fazakerley (Andy Brennan) are a consistent joy as they display a hugely-entertaining comedic chemistry.

And the gags haven't come out of a cracker.

The Good Fairy is played by Lucy Kay of Britain's Got Talent fame.

And, yes, she is talented as shown on her strong vocals.

There's also an enjoyable medley of singalong songs from a tight live band as well as sparkling choreography throughout the two and a half hour running time.

A slick 3D ghost experience, a Punch and Judy with a difference and a bizarre boxing match add to the variety-meets-vaudeville atmosphere.

Fire-eating, juggling and a Houdini illusion add even more to the overall diversity.

There is something for all tastes and ages in this top-notch panto.

This is a Sleeping Beauty where everyone gives 100 per cent - focused on making sure audiences are having a ball . . . just as they are on stage.

Verdict: Five stars

A non-stop festive party.

It is at the M&S Bank Arena until December 30.

Tickets from MandSbankarena.com