Now then, it is a bright, if blustery, Wednesday in early winter. You have the option: an afternoon stuck to the television and the drone of a two-hour Budget Speech, or an afternoon of glowing, rippling pre-Christmas entertainment at the Royal Hippdrome Theatre.
No contest. Welcome, then, to Jingle All the Way! The Grand Old Lady of Eastbourne’s theatreland is once again doing what it does best: familiar, well-loved music and dance, in a tried and tested format.
At the Trapdoor Productions helm, Debbie and Alex Adams know exactly how to entertain. The classic musical numbers cascade out, delivered with relish and with a genuine affection for the material. Old-fashioned it may be, but none the worse for that.
The programme opens with well-known songs from the shows, and then turns decidedly Christmassy from half-time onwards.
A Murder at Mistletoe Manor skit (think Play that Goes Wrong) is a wee bit laboured and over-milked, but that’s a quibble.
The company of two chaps and five ladies feels very slightly unbalanced, but when the chaps are as talented and assured as Alex Adams and compere Grant Martins, they manage rather well. Grant is the cheeky chappie, everyone’s favourite son, nephew or – given the audience demographic – grandson, and both he and Alex sing liltingly.
Dance routines are tight and exciting. And when Alex, Grant and Laura Sivers join forces for Good Morning from Singin’ in the Rain, you get a truly uncanny glimpse of Kelly, O’Connor and Reynolds.
Soloists Rachel Brett and Star Bray both stand out, and accomplished support comes from Nikki Brooke, Vicky Potter, Eliza Hackett and Becka Wyatt.
And then the juveniles. Beautifully dressed, confident, and with smiles to light the greyest day, the youngsters are a delight.
Well done to Connie, Eleanor, Ria, Layla, Millie, Alfie and Freddie.
Did I miss anything in the Budget? How about taking the VAT off theatre tickets, and generous grants for community theatre! Well, maybe next year…
Jingle All the Way continues each Wednesday until December 13.
By Kevin Anderson