PANTO fever swept across the Allen Valleys at the weekend – and this time there was no stopping it.

Almost a month after the Beast from the East forced a reluctant postponement, the Allendale pantomime returned with an action-packed performance of Cinderella.

It was the Allen Valley Drama Group’s first outing in two years, with no pantomime in 2017 due to the unavailability of key cast and crew members.

But the group, founded in 1983, came up with a characteristically local take on the classic fairy tale, which entertained appreciative audiences at Allendale Village Hall over four showings.

The tongue-in-cheek performance included panto stalwart Margaret Stonehouse as Cinderella, who dutifully carried out domestic chores under the watchful eyes of her less than glamorous sisters Isabella (Nigel Baynes) and Salmonella (Jonny Burns).

The ugly sisters were star turns, as they tantalised the audience with an array of slapstick scenes, and ruthlessly competed with each other for the affections of the male characters.

More laughs were provided by Buttons (Sheila Brooks), a popular character who interacted with the audience throughout.

This year’s panto baddy was President Trump, with Max Baynes vowing to build a wall around the palace in his parody role, which included well-delivered presidential speeches and gaffes.

He didn't win the affections of Cinderella however, who was firmly fixed on going to the ball with Prince Charming.

The prince was portrayed in fine style by Kim Kozlowski, who brought a touch of romance to the stage with several eye-catching solo singing performances.

Press photographers Flash (Cordelia Harrison) and Snap (Lesley MacDonald), were an entertaining presence throughout, with Cordelia proving her own singing credentials.

Cinderella's father Baron Hardup (Peter Carter) was a good-natured soft touch, overpowered by his domineering new partner, Baroness Hardup (Paige Harrison).

Paige stepped in to cover for Laura Charlton, who had to sit out the re-arranged panto due to work commitments.

There were other notable performances by Emma Harrison as Fairy Godmother, Lillie Weatherson as Kathy, and Tori Miller as Dandini.

They were supported by a lively chorus in Catherine Sterling-Hill, Heidi Miller, Paige Harrison, Cordelia Harrison, and Max Baynes.

Directed by Lee Falkingham, the panto experimented with the use of pre-recorded video footage for the second time in recent years.

It featured the ugly sisters, the Catton Line Dancers, shopkeepers and other local people, in a series of Benny Hill-style sketches in Allendale's Market Square and Recreation Ground.

Packed full of comedy, singing, dancing, and audience interaction, this was a marvellous effort by a cast made up of seasoned stalwarts, and undoubtedly, several stars of the future.