Mel Gibson as Kurt Mayron, Mark Wahlberg as Dusty Mayron, Will Ferrell as Brad Taggart and John Lithgow as Don Taggart in Daddy's Home 2. Picture: PA Photo/Paramount Pictures/Claire Fogler.

CHERYL GIBBS: Not a great film, but I still balled my eyes out

Panto-goers at Fareham may have more on their minds at the interval than drinks and ice-creams. They may be asking 'Who on earth is that Genie of the Lamp?'

And with good reason, because he electrifies the stage the moment he disco-dances on to the stage near the end of the first half.

With his massive Afro and his plunging neckline, his high-fives with the front row and his promise to obey any 'dude' who has the lamp, he steals the thunder of even that strong-acting villain Peter Duncan.

So who is the genie? The name is Nathaniel Morrison, well down the production's official roll of honour although he has already played Stevie Wonder in Dancing In The Streets in the West End.

But perhaps he should share the plaudits with the musical team who embrace a range of styles up to borderline operatic in the person of the Emperor – and play a vital role in underscoring many of the jokes.

The production has a nice array of topical and local references, incorporates my favourite mangle joke in the laundry scene and even includes what is surely a Ferneham Hall rarity – a chase through the auditorium.

Peter Duncan as Abanazaar (heaven knows why he is given the extra 'a') makes brief references to his past as Blue Peter presenter and Chief Scout, and performs an impressive magic routine at the end.

The other major name is Chris Edgerley from CITV's Hi-5. As Wishee-Washee, he skitters energetically around the stage and chatters engagingly enough.

Robert Rawles could be more imaginative as the Dame but did well last night in his recurring banter with a familiar-looking Fareham figure called Sean, in the front row yesterday evening.

And Lisa Mathieson is first-rate as a leggily old-fashioned principal boy.

But they are all put in the shade by superstar Nathaniel. Stunning, simply stunning.

Until January 2.