IF JOFF Lacey ever gets bored with treading the boards, there might be a job for him in an 80s-themed boutique.

He rocked the pink jacket and bouffant hair in this panto like he was auditioning for a camp remake of Miami Vice.

Lecey and his Winton Players chums rolled up their jacket sleeves one last time at the weekend as the curtain fell on Petersfield’s Proper Panto for another year.

Only time will tell how Beauty and the Beast will be remembered, but their 2024 production had everything you would expect from the much-loved thespians.

Ugly sisters? Check. Phill Humphries as the dame? Check. Christmas cracker jokes and cries of ‘it’s behind you?’ Check and double check.

This not-so beastly production was the third panto directed by Penny Young, so she knows the score. The sets were clever, with a “magical mirror” in the movable castle walls being a superb inclusion, while the songs ranged from the touching – I quite enjoyed The Beast’s rendition of Only You – to a risqué rendition of Sexbomb by lothario Gustave (played by a suitably accented Simon Stanley). Backed superbly by musical director Philip Young and his orchestra, of course.

The action takes place across Le Channel in the village of Franglais-sur-Mer, offering multiple opportunities for silly accents and jokes about our continental neighbours.

Daisy Bedford was the right choice for the lead role of Belle while Prince Danton (George Pinhorn) had wine barrel loads of youthful charm. There was also great rapport between the ugly sisters (Tara Taylor and Nicola Hillyer) while Humphries’ exuded experience as Mademoiselle Fifi.

Em Sefton-Smith thoroughly deserved a round of applause for her energetic rendition of the Can-Can – everyone in the Festival Hall audience felt her exhaustion – while I liked the rhyming interplay between the good and evil fairies, Flora and Belladonna (Karla Welch and Anne-Lise Kadri, respectively).

Jez Austin’s diction as The Beast was superb, coming over as as an understated Matt Berry, and his realisation that kindness, not forcefulness, was the key to winning over Bella’s heart seemed genuine.

I had the odd qualm, though. I felt Belladonna – who was otherwise excellent and played the perfect villain - slunk away too quietly after her nefarious bid to marry the prince failed.

Bella’s change of heart from dislike to love of the beast was also very swift. But they’re minor issues and this was, very much, a proper panto. Like always.

Oh, and getting the audience to sing Ghostbusters was always going to be a winner. Who you gonna call for a great evening? It’s gotta be the Winton Players.

* Beauty and the Beast, Winton Players, Petersfield Festival Hall, Saturday, January 20 (evening show)