As I write, a street lamp casts its amber glow across a blanket of snow. All is eerily quiet, the only movement, the great flecks of white powder which are falling from a dark sky, covering the trees and bushes in an icy coating. Surbiton has been transformed into a winter wonderland, not unlike the one which had people flocking to a cosy arts centre in Tolworth last week.

The attraction which packed the cornerHOUSE to the rafters was the magical world of None O’Yer, where an ice queen rules, where talking beavers shelter frightened children, a faun befriends a little girl, and a sacrificial lion melts the snow of a frozen kingdom. Sound familiar?

This year’s Centre Stage panto, None O’Yer Messing About, written by Les Hutchinson and directed by Jon Constant, was full of rollicking good songs written by Tom Wateracre and played by a merry band of minstrels, Round the Horne jokes, and excellent acting - both by the lead characters and the chorus, made up of trees, woodland creatures and staff of the "big house".

The set (Tim Cannings) and costumes (Gill Davies, Susan Brown and Deb Shepherd) were the real stars of the show, as a drab, war-torn Britain, buzzed by children wearing military aircraft hats, gives way to a world of bright colours, extraordinary creatures, and dazzling outfits – none more breathtaking than that of Queen Largish (Tim Harrison), the evil white witch with her Statue or Liberty icicle crown.

The witch’s arrival in a reindeer-drawn sleigh, accompanied by her henchman Shatterbrick (John Chudleigh - who ought to be Oscar-nominated for his performance) brought the house down. Jinn (Emily Newton) and Tonik (Ian Davies) were also excellent as the queen’s fawning stooges.

It was easy, whether your were a child or an adult, to get carried along by the magic of it all as the "famous four" Luceet (Sian Hutchinson), Susan (Jess Hern), Archibald (Richard Williams) and Julian (Les Hewett) stumble through into another world discovered by Luceet during a game of hide and seek at the back of a tallboy.

This is a world of prophecy where, should the Son of Madam or the Daughter of Steve sit on the throne of Corpairofem, it would spell the end of a long, long, lonely winter and the destruction of the queen herself – or words to that effect.

During the search for her brother Archibald, who has been kidnapped and put in chains in the palace, Luceet is desperate to spend a penny and happens to sit on the royal throne, accidentally fulfilling the prophecy and bringing peace and love (man), plus warmth, sunshine and flowers, back to None O’Yer.

The wicked witch melts away, at one point being played in miniature by Lydia Williams. But all’s well that ends well, as the forgiving, loved-up hippy feline Asbin (Bob Dean) takes pity on her, and resurrects her without her cold heart.

This was a sweet panto, beautifully played and wittily told, and despite the freezing temperatures, everyone went away with a warm, glowing feeling inside.

Jane Grove