THE EPONYMOUS villain of last week's Prudhoe pantomime may jealously guard his moniker, but the name 'Dragon Tale' will surely be on everyone's lips.

For the community theatre group has put on yet another crowd pleasing production.

Now in its 16th year, Dragon Tale Theatre Group staged the Brothers Grimm classic Rumpelstiltskin .

Last week's pantomime was staged at Highfield Middle School and there was no let up in quality as colourful sets and live music blended seamlessly to follow the traditional tale.

Affianced to square-jawed Scot, George McCloony, smiling heroine Annie Gusset finds herself cast into the castle dungeon thanks to the loose lips of her colourful mother, Gertie.

Tasked with spinning straw into pure gold to fund the king's imaginary war, Annie's despair disappears with the appearance of a mysterious creature who appears to solve her all of her problems.

However, all is not as it seems, and her sneaky saviour makes a bargain that has Annie unwittingly promising her hand in marriage to him.

Her only chance of saving herself from a marriage most horrid is to correctly guess his name; Rumpelstiltskin.

Once more Samantha MacBeth masterfully stepped into role of principal girl as Annie Gusset; a character who switches mercurially from whip smart mechanic to a lovelorn and trusting ingenue.

Tight-fisted, sporran sporting Scottish soap-star, George McCloony is not lacking in self-confidence and in this role Simon Shaw strode about the stage with bags of stage presence and a Glaswegian accent that was surely made from girders.

Annie's mother, Gertie Gusset, she of the fluorescent hair and a burning desire for eye-watering dresses, was played by Anthony Johnson.

Entering the stage to a Frank Spencer-esque cry of 'Yoo-hoo Gertie!' from the audience, Anthony's fantastic energy did not abate for a second and nor did the sausage puns and other assorted imaginative euphemisms.

Gertie's unwilling paramour and all-round good egg, Vance Chance was performed with great enthusiasm and panache by Wendy Neal.

Molly Holmes and Holly Baxter ascended to royalty with an engaging double act, with Holly's queen the long-suffering yin to Molly's yang as the blundering and infantile king.

Another eye-catching duo was that of Prime Minister, Alex Neal and Ray Moore, his 'dogsbody' - the embodiment of the country's entire government and as such expected to inhabit every role.

Ray's versatility was stretched to the limit and he was quite literally expected to don a number of hats, but his simultaneous performance as Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson had the audience in stitches.

This year the baddies of the piece shone; Ben Orrock and Vicki Wilkin as dastardly henchmen Scratch and Sniff were a lesson in comedy.

Though their wardrobe referenced the effortless cool of James Dean and the Blues Brothers, this duo was anything but; whether sniping at one another in bumbling idiocy or maniacally turning their attention to the audience they were captivating.

The titular role went to Dragon Tale veteran Neil Wilkin, whose particular brand of comedy seems made for the part.

Whether silently eyeballing the audience or making comic pirouettes into the wings, Neil stretched the comic tension wafer thin to hold the audience in his palm, and keep them there.

The production was liberally peppered with barnstorming song and dance numbers that roused smaller audience members out of their seats and into the aisles.

And the ever-impressive Dragon Tale chorus once more proved that nothing is too much for them.

Choreograpy and vocals blended perfectly to chart the musical spectrum, from colourful and energetic pop hits to wicked, head-banging heavy metal.

And whether singing or dancing, each member of the cast shone under the spotlights.

Leaving their seats, there was not an unhappy face to be seen and once

more the performers, show officials, band and hard-working behind the scenes crew should be proud of their ability to make the whole town smile.