IT'S been two years since the last Rock 'n' Roll panto - which has become an essential part of Merseyside's 'Make Merry' calendar.
Robin Hood (Tights in White Satin) is the theme here as the multi-tasking actors /musicians take audiences of all ages on a jolly journey to find a magical bow and arrow.
The established writing team of Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton (also directing) have come up with a two-and-a-half hour flight of fancy that, at times, seems to have too many characters to keep up with.
Kaine Hatukai, Jessica Dives and Caitlin Lavagna in Robin Hood
There were moments when it reminded me of the Terry Gilliam film epic Time Bandits.
Plot has always been an important part of Sarah and Mark's structure but maybe a scene or two could go without affecting the overall fun becaue there's a lot to take in.
Robin Hood meets a whole host of zany characters: mermaids; cowboys; Bill and Ben; Rupert Bear; Aquaman; a clue-less sheriff of Knotty Ash in the bizarre form of Sherlock Holmes; Guy of Greasby and King John of Elton.
Phew! I need a mulled wine after seeing that lot. And there's even more.
Jamie Noar as Marlon The Wizard in Robin Hood. Photo: Robert Day
There is certainly a lot of visual capers to be had in this fast-paced production which features all of the rocking band members who shine on a wide range of songs from Van Morrison's Sunny Side of the Street to Status Quo's Rocking All Over the World and Celine Dion's It's All Coming Back to me Now.
The always excellent Adam Keast (accompanied by trademark trusty stage vehicle - this year a pizza van) and versatile Matthew Quinn play Robin and Marion and their alter egos - Gilbert and Josie Jingles.
Above: Adam Keast as Gilbert Jingles in Robin Hood. Picture: Robert Day
Adam Keast and Stephanie Hockley in Robin Hood. Picture: Robert Day
Everyman favourite Stephanie Hockley is daughter Scarlett who always connects with any audience.
And working hard for his Christmas dinner - on press night - was James Wolstenholme who played eight parts with boundless enthusiasm.
Making his panto debut Pete Mooney's Long John also has a consistent nice-line in patter - his delivery is spot on. And there's Jess Dives as baddie - Darthia Da Foe who can belt out a rocker and ballad with equal gusto.
There are carefully-constructed innuendoes throughout which keeps the adults happy and the water pistol deluge early on in the evening which proves a much-awaited part of the show for those who love a daft drenching.
Matthew Quinn as Josie Jingles in Robin Hood. Photo: Robert Day
Musical director Jamie Noar manages to take centre stage himself as the twinkling Marlon who believes he has a touch of 'Brando' in him.
The undoubted stars of this year's Everyman panto party is the wonderful wardrobe team led by Dinah England who have created a whole range of stunning, sparkling costumes where the cast are suitably dressed to thrill.
Tinsel-coated, time traveling
The show's run ends on January 15, 2022
Tickets from 0151 709 4776