Peter Pan, The Mayflower, Southampton, until Saturday, January 14.

Christmas soars in Southampton with a spectacular Peter Pan which will leave you convinced that you haven’t grown up either.

It’s lavish, it’s spectacular, but far more importantly, it’s full of fun, packed with splendid performances from a cast that throw themselves into the spirit of it all wholeheartedly.

There are times when it suffers a little bit of an identity crisis, starting out resolutely as a top-end Christmas show before remembering every now and again

to throw in something just a little pantoesque.

But that’s the most minor of quibbles in a show which is a visual delights from first to last, from the Darlings’ bedroom through to the blue lagoon, from an Indian camp to the pirates’ galleon.

Rising above it all at every possible opportunity is Daniel Boys as Peter Pan, a lovely performance full of charm, earnestness and stroppiness - everything you could want from the boy who refuses to grow up.

Les Dennis is great as Smee, the dashing Ben Richards turns largely to Jack Sparrow for his Captain Hook, and Lucy Benjamin tugs at the heart strings, bookending the show as Mrs Darling.

But maybe the most enchanting performance comes from Katie Ray as Wendy - all of which helps the show overcome the most awful and ill-judged of starts.

Call me squeamish, but should any Christmas show anywhere ever start with a silhouetted (or otherwise) guillotining, even if you subsequently realise that it’s only a hand that has been lopped off?

Phil Hewitt