It was a dark and stormy ideal backdrop for a Pantomime, as goodness shone through! And so it did at Cliff House, Salcombe on Saturday, December 9, in so many ways.

The obvious goodness of the rags to riches Cinderella story where kindness and humility triumph over meanspiritedness and arrogance but, equally importantly, the excellent standard of the show itself.

Not that I expected anything less of Salcombe Players’ annual foray into magic and mayhem when they consistently deliver a performance of merit and merriment.

Much could be forgiven of any group who tirelessly put the fun into fundraising – after this year’s production over £80,000 will have been generated for the Swimming Pool Association – but there is nothing to forgive and everything to praise.

Just as the beneficiary is a much loved community asset, so is this annual show – by all those who take part and the nightly sell-out audiences.

From young to old, principal parts to the scene shifters, programme sellers to the pianist, wardrobe mistress to choreographer, author to light rigger and everyone in between, it is hard to credit that there could be any member of the community NOT involved in the show.

Given such widespread and far reaching involvement it is difficult to single out individuals for attention but I cannot resist two inspired performances in particular.

The adorable cameo role of Meryl who proved more than a match for ghastly Lady Devilia’s objectionable spawn and Devon Dumpling. I defy any pantomime horse to exhibit greater character or contribute more to a performance!

Timing was exquisitely comic (including the out-of-sync coconut hooves!) and the range of expressions conjured up by his ’innards’ from a woolly costume was fascinating to watch.

As the saying goes, 'never work with children or animals'; Salcombe Players disprove that argument year on year! The sheer delight and pleasure at being part of such a local institution which shone from all on stage was infectious and belied the very many weeks of strenuous rehearsals and dedication by all concerned.