THIS year’s magical pantomime at Clacton’s Princes Theatre really does have the X factor.

Sleeping Beauty stars the X Factor’s Stevi Ritchie, who aptly plays Chester the Jester in the brilliantly silly panto.

The professional pantomime is one of the best that Polka Dot has produced in Clacton and proved to be a hit with children and parents alike – leading to lots of audience participation.

Stevi Ritchie, who was a surprise hit on the ITV talent show two years ago, was very likeable as Chester and seemed to enjoy himself as much as the audience did – and he didn’t mind poking fun at himself with a few X Factor references.

Along with panto dame Nanny Nora, King Stefan, and Prince Harry of Harwich, Stevi stole the show with a hilarious slapstick sequence that had the audience in stitches.

Nanny Nora was played by Ian Summers, who was returning to Clacton for a second panto season following his fantastic performance in Aladdin.

Stevi provided us with some fantastically bad puns and jokes, but it was the dame that gave us the best laughs, including a few gags for the adults.

All round, the dancing and singing in this year’s show was excellent, including from the principal dancers and the children’s chorus.

But the highlight was the superb vocals of Sophie Adams, who played the sleeping beauty, Princes Aurora.

Special mentions must also go to Millie Hillman, who played Fairy Nuff and was returning to the Princes Theatre having previously played Princess Jill in Jack and the Beanstalk, and the delightfully evil Carabosse, played by Olivia Hanlon, who was making her debut as a pantomime baddie.

Tickets for Sleeping Beauty, which runs until January 1, are available from the box office on 01255 686633.