FORGET trees, lights, decorations or Santa – it is simply not Christmas until Simon Fielding comes to Basildon.

For the ninth year in succession, Fielding has put together the new town’s pantomime, bringing Jack and the Beanstalk to the Towngate Theatre. And it does not disappoint.

Right from the start, the all-action performance captivates the audience with hit songs, dance moves, comic one-liners and an engaging set which results in festive fun for all the family.

To prove that point, I watched the show alongside my two nieces aged three and six and my parents, whose ages I will not reveal in the paper just in case they haven’t bought my presents yet! But, at various stages of the show, they all laughed and cheered as loud as one other due to the performances put on in front of them.

Natalie Winsor caught the eye with a spellbinding showing as Fairy Cup Cake while Sophie Ladds was also incredibly impressive as Desdemona. However, my own personal favourite was Dame Trott - played byNick Barclay - whose innuendos and audience participation was delivered to perfection to create several comical moments.

When it comes to panto, Fielding is clearly in his element and brings everything you need together for an entertaining show.

The audience are also urged to play their part in the fun, being taught dance moves and how to greet certain characters before the usual pantomime interaction begins.

Isla, my younger niece described the show as “amazing” while Daisy went for “magic”. And it is pretty hard to disagree.

Jack and the Beanstalk is at the Towngate Theatre, St Martin’s Square, Basildon, until January 3. Tickets are available from the box office on 01268 465465.