Peter Pan, Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Various days and times until August 26. £24 to £12 plus discounts. 01206 573948.

ONE year the Mercury might just put on a bit of a duff old summer show but 2017 definitely isn't that year.

I will admit when they announced Peter Pan, more normally associated with Christmas and panto, for their summer family production, I was a little sceptical but after being transfixed for another wonderful couple of hours it's as good as all their previous summer shows. Possibly the best so far.

The dream team combination of Daniel Buckroyd's natural gift for storytelling and Matthew Cullum's sublime staging and set-pieces makes for a delightful, magical show full of neat theatrical tricks that whisk you away to Neverland from the comfort of your auditorium seat.

Draws for beds, a wardrobe where the cast appear from and disappear into, as well as flying without really flying and the best build-up to any Peter Pan crocodile ever.

These guys know the most powerful tool at their disposal is the audience's imagination and with a hint of something here and a dash of something else there, we can delight in a group of lost boys swimming in the sea without an actual drop of water.

But what makes this Peter Pan so exquisitely fresh is the performances of the Mercury cast in particular Emilio Iannucci as Pan and Pete Ashmore as Hook.

It's so easy to fall into the cliched trap of performing those iconic characters in an expected way, and let's be honest we wouldn't really mind if they did. But both Emilio and Pete bring something new to the characters. The attitude, the walk, the accents (lots of different ones when it comes to Pete's Hook as though he was merging all the classic pirates into one). I couldn't really put my finger on one thing but it was really impressive nonetheless.

Even the traditional way of portraying Tinkerbell was ingeniously done and superbly executed by Alicia McKenzie.

Don't fret Pan fans, it is the same Peter Pan, just a little bit different, and all the better for it.