The Waipawa M&D's Christmas Pantomime - Jack and the Beanstalk - is billed as fabulous family entertainment.
So I grabbed the nearest child, which thankfully was my 8-year-old grandson Jhasper so I'm not currently wanted for kidnapping, and we went along.
Jhasper has only been to live theatre once before and there was a lot of wriggling in his seat, asking loud questions and declaring himself hungry, thirsty and bored.
Fast forward to the CHB Municipal Theatre and the curtain raising on Jack and the Beanstalk ...
Jhas asked one question about the set, then he sat looking intently as the action unfurled on stage. The colours, the lighting and the larger-than-life character of Jack's mum (Madeleine Howard) captured his attention. The stage filled with singing and dancing children for the opening number.
When the dust settled, Jhas turned to me with an ecstatic grin and said, with wide shining eyes ... "I love it!"
When the stage darkened for the first scene change, he looked forlorn. "It is finished?" he asked and was relieved to hear that no, it hadn't.
I was pleased it hadn't too.
Madeleine Howard was hamming it up to perfection, her singing voice is a treat and her energy onstage is astonishing. Danny Priestly is a hilarious Butcher Bob, he was right into character and his comedy timing is just gold. Another astonishing voice ... he's a singer/songwriter in his own right but this is a comedic Danny we need to see more of.
The panto - a Roger Hall take on the old favourite - is in itself hilarious. There's more than enough grown-up humour to keep the adults laughing, while the slapstick and the action keeps the kids on the edge of their seats.
The characters ... where do I start? Some are caricatures of Kiwi stalwarts of any small community ... the hippy dippy Aunty Pam (Suzanne McLaren), the spoiled rich girl Paris Stilton. Even happy-go-lucky country boy Jack (played with great talent and enthusiasm by Ben Berry) is recognisable.
But wait till you see the bizarre, the quirky, the outrageous Betsy The Cow.
Betsy is a scene stealer. It's newcomer to the Muni stage Dean Alsop under all that leather, and I challenge you to take your eyes off this ham of a cow. Even if you did, you'd look back when Dean lets loose with his singing voice. A wow moment right there.
There are other gorgeous quirks and treats in store - the most wonderful whimsical Goosey (Abby O'Kane), the silent mime/dance/comedy blend that is Claude Back (Jordy Jackson) and the most adorable bossy border guard ever (the minute Piper Harrison).
Professional performer Mary Kippenberger makes it back on her local stage for this production, and as the evil Mrs Stilton she's just divine.
This panto is high-energy, with loads of colour, lots of laughs, the kids in the dance crew fill the stage with joy, the actors are polished and they look like they are having way too much fun up there.
Last words to my co-reviewer, Jhasper, aged 8: "Nanny, I loved it, can we see it again?"