IT is officially panto season - oh yes it is! And the Mercury Theatre's production of Sleeping Beauty is not to be missed.

Described as a "magical" and "true-love hit", the show is around two and half hours, including a 20 minute interval, and ends at the reasonable time of about 9.30pm for the evening shows.  

In this version of Sleeping Beauty, Princess Luna is turning 18 and as well as being unaware of her true royalty, wants to make her home-kingdom 'Colchesteria' a fairer and happier place.  

Created by the award-winning designer Jasmine Swan, Sleeping Beauty's set design was inspired by both Doctor Suess and Disney's Frozen.

The songs meanwhile, picked by musical director Paul Herbert and creative director Ryan McByrde, include Scouting for Girls' 'She's So lovely', 'Reach' by S Club 7 and 'Roar' by Katy Perry. 

Writer Guy Unsworth adapted the famous fairy tale and has also adapted Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to the modern-day. 

Antony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville together return as the mother-and-son Dame-and-sidekick duo. 

Free booster seats are available and 'Relaxed performances', where the lighting and sound effects will be reduced, are on Thursday at 10.15am and Saturday January 6 at 2pm. 

Further adult performances with more "a little more risqué" content will be available from January. 

For more information and to buy tickets visit here