In panto you can have the best writers, the highest profile actors and the catchiest tunes; but without cast chemistry you have nothing.
It’s something the directors of this year’s Edinburgh King’s Theatre panto were surely aware of in casting the triumphant comedy triumvirate of Grant Stott, Andy Gray and Allan Stewart - respectively playing Captain Hook, Mr Smee and Mrs Smee.
To say the show takes liberties with JM Barrie’s story would be a severe understatement, but the plot (or lack of) rightly comes second to the three men happily messing around on stage surrounded by dazzlingly high production values.
Large set piece song-and-dance numbers break up the stream of banter and one-liners - with the tunes more One Direction than traditional music hall and the costumes seemingly swiped straight out of Katy Perry’s wardrobe.
It’s a modern pantomime which is still aware of its past; the old audience callback staples and singalongs remain present and correct in the midst of jokes about tram works, Edinburgh neighbourhoods and the independence debate.
Of the supporting cast, Daniel Healy’s Peter Pan is fine but has barely anything to do.
Maggie Lynne’s Wendy, Shona White’s Tinkerbell and Miriam Well-Sutton’s Tiger Lily are also all similarly capably delivered but reduced to supporting roles by the big three male leads - who are already happily confirmed for next year’s show.