‘Butter me barnacles’, as Captain Hook says – what a wonderful show! Robin Belfield and Simon Slater have collaborated before at the Watermill - Pinocchio, Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island - so expectations were high. Every single one was exceeded: I smiled from first sight of the huge blue moon through to the storming finale two hours later.

Their Watermill version of Peter Pan has, of necessity, a pruned cast. Wendy is an only child, with a single stern dad who’s no time for silliness; there are just two lost boys/ pirates/mermaids/American Indians, oddly never seen on stage at the same time; there’s the lovely Tiger Lily and, of course, Peter Pan. But ‘Thunder me tunafish’, as Hook also says, these six talented actors bring so much swashbuckling energy to the action you’d think there were 30 of them.

Wendy (a sparkling Bronte Tadman), and Tiger Lily (Abiola Ogunbiyi, lovely) are much stronger characters than usual. Wendy wants to be a warrior princess, but Peter says that, if she wants to play, she’s got to be Mother. She reluctantly agrees, but soon pooh-poohs that idea by heading off alone to rescue Tiger Lily from the pirates.

Tiger Lily, too, is a bit bored with always having to be the one rescued by the bossy lost boys, so is soon ploughing her own feisty furrow. Ed Thorpe and Oliver Izod are hilarious in their various incarnations as lost boys/pirates/mermaids/Indians, with a running gag about how some people always seem to arrive late for the action.

Jay Worley’s Peter is great, with just the right mix of brio and poignancy, though I wonder how his throat will survive six weeks of his blood-curdling cry.

But most applause has to go to Morgan Philpott’s fabulous Captain Hook, with a hook called Horatio and an appalling line in puns, who of course gets his come-uppance at the teeth of the ticking croc.

The music’s great, the performances terrific, and all children seemed enthralled (adults too, it has to be said). Huge fun and perfect for Christmas.