ARNOLD Ashbrook is a wizz-kid when it comes to writing pantomimes.

His latest, Dick Whittington, is an unusual version of the popular story. This Dick heads for Gloucestershire after giving away his cat. He returns to London and discovers that Claws, has been kidnapped by some Pirates. What’s more, she turns into a rat but I won’t give away how.

Arnold’s script includes some amusing puns on words and his tunes fit in well with the singers.

Julie Thompson is a tall, powerful, thigh-slapping Dick who falls for Helen Wild’s beautiful Alice Fitzwarren.

She is the daughter of the ruthless employer Scribben Fitzwarren. (Jeff Grubert) He is hand in glove with Gordon Buchan’s Sir Clifton Bumbleton, Lord Mayor of London. These two interact well and even sing a duet together.

Good performances also come from over-the-top sisters, Flumptious and Esmerelda Partridge AKA Yolanda Goodchild and Fran Grubert.

Swizel Durkin, a character who can do magic, is well projected by Jan Hardman.

The second Act takes place on board a pirate ship led by the lisping Captain Blacktooth (RickA Hardman)

Child actor, Oscar Daly does well as the posh young King Richard.

There is plenty of interaction with the children without interrupting the plot. I have always said this is the most child-centred panto and it’s not too expensive either.

The players of Sale are a small but friendly group. They desperately need helpers on stage, in front of house and back stage.

• Dick Whittington was at St Francis Church Hall, Budworth Road, Sale Moor until Saturday. It has now finished. Star rating: * * *.