Writer and director John Terry has pulled one out of the bag for this year’s Chippy panto.

Complete with camels, Indiana Jones, a puppet fight scene and a cruise ship costume, the usual sweets, fart jokes and dame antics ensued as Aladdin bounced onto the stage in The Theatre for the first of an extensive 99-performance schedule.

Set in Egypt, Dame Gertie (played by Andrew Pepper) runs a dodgy English restaurant in Cairo with her two sons Aladdin (David Djemal) and Sidney (Irfan Damani), but once Aladdin catches sight of Princess Jasmine at the market, his fate is sealed.

Hooked from the word go, the originality of the performance began immediately, as the curtains went back to reveal a giant cinema screen depicting the evil Abanazar (Benedict Martin) pacing the streets of Chipping Norton with his real life camel (yes really) looking for a fabled magic lamp.

He stops to ask a bewildered traffic warden for directions, before being directed to the local hardware store Euronics. A bemused sales assistant has lots of lamps, but not the one the pantomime baddie desires.

“In that case you should try the theatre because they are staging Aladdin this year and there’s a magic lamp in that,” they tell him, and off he treks, arriving to find a magic ring on the ground outside, confirming it’s the right spot.

But it’s still a surprise when, at that precise moment, Abanazar bursts in through the auditorium at the back, and it’s this level of ingenuity, humour and the unexpected, that makes Aladdin such a resounding success.

I loved it – from the African setting and lost pyramids to the farcical dining scenes, the Empress played refreshingly by Emma Vale and the Cockney song. But it was Andrew Pepper the dame who really stole the show – his costumes this year on a whole different level, his joie de vivre, dead pan timing, twitching lips and ad libbing bringing the whole evening together.

While preparing for the dame’s most extravagant outfit yet, Aladdin asks ‘where’s mum?’ It’s a good question because without him everything loses its magic sparkle.

A gift of a dame and a gift of a show. 5/5

Aladdin runs at The Theatre, Chipping Norton until January 13.