Filmmaker Gavin Irvine holds the best director and best short film awards he won at Portugal International Film Festival in September

Award-winning filmmaker to make Portsmouth return for film festival

Let's make one thing clear. I hate panto – with a vengeance, but I liked this panto very much.

Mark Wakeman says he's written 'an original telling of an old classic' – but what he's done is, very cleverly, to take panto back to its roots and, knowing The Bench's strengths and weaknesses, he's played very much to their strengths.

This Cinderella is not propped up with pointless songs but by a familiar story, family –friendly humour, a fantastic set and some good performances.

Wakeman and Dan Finch make friendly hosts and are well-supported on all sides. Flic Jolly's Cinderella is an attractive, hyperactive whirlwind. Megan Green is nicely evil as the stepmother and Terry Smyth and Callum West are very impressive as the Ugly Sisters.

Another personal favourite was Claire Lyne's kung-fu fighting Princess Beryl.

Until 19 December.