SLEEPING beauty, a timeless classic, seems an appropriate panto to celebrate the 40th birthday of a time-honoured company.

The Isle of Wight has long been blessed with the work of the Wight Strollers, and this show upholds their tradition of playful pantos.

Before the show began, the audience had an excellent view of the band — a small, effective trio that appeared to thoroughly enjoy their time on stage.

This was well demonstrated by the vivacious musical director Kim Ball, singing along in some of the chorus numbers.

When the curtains drew back for the opening number, it was impossible not to be struck by the vibrant costumes, a masterpiece headed by Gerry Tulloch.

The blend of chorus singing was pleasant, if a little quiet at points, however, as the show progressed, the numbers took off in energy and spectacle, with a particularly strong rendition of Be Our Guest, soloed by Rob Bingham.

While the reliability of the radio mics was dubious, this was not to the detriment of the performance, with all the cast (and in particular the cheeky John Woodford as the dame) projecting admirably.

The other technical elements of this panto were second to none.

In particular, the ambitious use of several pyrotechnics was a successful gamble, enhancing the energy of the finale and the magic of the delightfully despicable Emily Scotcher as Carabosse.

Choreography by Cheryl Rudd was spellbinding, with particular mention to the dramatic and impressive thorns outside the palace and the astounding moves of talented leading lady Izzi Rudd during I Put A Spell On You.

Director Sarah Scotcher worked her magic on and off stage, with her classic panto puns and easy stage manner. This clearly inspired the rest of the cast to do the same.

Most notably, Marc Phillips with a convincing butler-stoop and a wonderfully characterised rendition of Time Warp and Casey Delaboud with frequent rhyming ditties on his ukulele.

The Strollers are notorious for their generous donations to charity and what better excuse to watch them razzle and dazzle than knowing it all goes to a good cause?

The final chance to catch Sleeping Beauty at Medina Theatre is on Saturday at 2.30pm or 7.30pm — if any tickets remain.