THE Lakes Players promise a purr-fect panto in this year’s glittering spectacle - Dick Whittington and His Cat.

Running from Tuesday-Sunday, January 22-27, at The Lakes School, Troutbeck Bridge, doyenne of grand dames, Stewart Hart, returns to the spotlight after stepping aside last year to just direct.

As well as putting the 2013 show together with Gareth Lambert (who also plays Idle Jack) and Catherine Robinson, Stewart says he’s glad to get the legs back out and slap on the war paint, donning more sequins and outrageous costumes than ever before as Dolly Dumpling.

Becky Ives returns to play hero dick, her first principle boy role. Dick’s love interest, Alice is played by Amy Miller, and another LP favourite, Anthony Dean, is back centre stage for 2013 as the Fairy. Also in the cast are Sonia Fallowfield and Rachel Slater - as the evil Queen Rat and her sidekick Rattums - Matthew Chadbourns as Billy Fitzwarren and Abi Trippit plays Tommy the Cat. And it wouldn’t be a LP show without Ambleside’s excellent Maria Francis School of Dance.

Since the curtain rose on the first Lakes Players show in 1995, the company’s productions are increasingly elaborate, imaginative - and expensive.

Funding comes mostly from the group’s own hard work and fundraising events as well as local businesses that sponsor the show and advertise in the programme.

Dick will cost in the region of £25,000 and includes a huge animatronic galleon and a 15-feet octopus.

Stewart says Lakes Players are lucky to have help and guidance from Paul Gavin of Purple Sheep, their lighting and special effects experts. “Without them the show wouldn’t be as spectacular,” he adds.

As those who know him will vouch - Stewart loves panto: “I think its really important to keep pantomimes traditional yet modern, up to date and current,” he enthuses. “This year we have moved on a bit with our music choices and tried to include current pop songs that all the kids know.

“The biggest pleasure is to see the smile on the audiences faces. The week of the show, you just live and breathe panto so it is important that we all enjoy what we do to and have fun.”

Performances start at 7pm, plus Saturday and Sunday 2pm matinees. There is no Sunday night show.

Tickets are available from the Royal Oak pub in Bowness or you can now buy online at