THERE is a fantastic surprise for kids and parents in Dick Whittington at the Manchester Opera House.

The show, produced by Qdas Entertainment, includes a spectacular 3D sequence which takes the audience to an underwater wonderland

Dick is no ordinary Dick. This Dick is played by none other than John Barrowman.

Ignore the change from the tradition of Dick being a woman because his diverse talents add to the role. He even tries to talk with a Mancunian accent.

This contrasts with the Scottish Krankies, the comedy duo who play Councillor and Jimmy Krankie. They’ve been playing slapstick in panto alongside John Barrowman for at least seven seasons. Not only that but Ian and Janette Tough have appeared together since the seventies and will soon celebrate their golden wedding.

The audience love Janette’s cheeky Jimmy but when she dresses as a cabaret star to sing a skit on I’m a material Girl, she brings the house down.

You can’t have a Dick without a cat. On this occasion, he is played by Ryan Kayode in a Disney-like style.

As always in panto, there are goodies and baddies. The goody is Fairy Bow Bells (Jaqueline Hughes) )who emerges in a puff of smoke.

The baddy who receives many deserved boos, is the wicked King Rat who Phil Corbitt transforms into an epitomy of evil.

This colourful show full of singing and dancing will appeal to families who like a traditional pantomime. The special effects are spectacular.

• Dick Whittington is at Manchester Opera House until Sunday, January 7 2018. Tickets from 0844 871 3018 or Star rating: * * * *.