The Wharf Theatre is currently showing this year’s annual Christmas pantomime, The Phantom of the Panto.

Created by the theatre’s very own team of Socket, Sprocket and Wrench, it is written by Lesley Scholes, produced by Tina Duffin and directed by Merrily Powell.

It features several familiar faces along with some new talent and a very special guest performer.

The show is set in Crudleigh Regis Village Hall, a few weeks before Christmas, where a group of keen local amateurs are rehearsing their annual pantomime.

Despite a shortage of theatrical talent, a recognisable script and young men in the cast, they carry on regardless with hilarious results.

They also have to deal with the added mystery of a phantom intruder who has been wreaking havoc in the hall.

The show is suitable for all ages over five and tickets include a mince pie and drink in the interval.

I attended on the first night where all the proceeds went to the Mayor’s Appeal for local charities.

The cast of 14 have at least two characters each as the first half is before the group’s panto and the second half is the panto, so you effectively get two shows in one.

The set features just one room in the village hall and there was clever use of the upper level for the mysterious phantom.

I really enjoyed Tor Burt’s characters of Elsie Skinner and Dick Whittington and Jonathan West as Jacob Trevellian and Jack, although the star of the show had to be Floosie the dog.

Floosie took on three different characters, with great success, and received the biggest applause at the end.

As per usual pantomime rules there was audience participation, several rounds of “oh no, he didn’t” and some singing.

It was a fun show to watch and a definite must for any families looking for a laughter-filled evening this Christmas.