SIDE-splitting, knockout about comedy is a Burneside Amateur Theatrical Society speciality and this year’s 40th anniversary show promises to be the best yet.

Directed by Gordon Lawson, BATS push the pantomime boat out once again next week, giving the classic fairy tale of Cinderella a Burneside spin.

Cinderella lives at Hardup Hall. Although the daughter of the Baron she is cruelly treated by her stepmother and forced into menial work, while her stepmother’s daughters live the high life at their posh school, St Annes.

But all is not lost - Cinderella has a friend in Buttons, and he’s poised, panto-like, to put a spanner into the baddies’ works.

Fresh to the wonderful wacky world of BATS this time around are Jessica Lawson as Cinderella, Carly Pearson as a right royal Prince Charming and in the spotlight as Hernia, ugly sister Adam Carruthers.

So, who else among Lord Lawson’s laughter-making loyal subjects will be taking to the Bryce stage?

Lakeland Radio’s Simon Yaxley plays Buttons and Martin Cash is Baron Hardup.

Sarah Kidd is in Dandini mode, Helen Townson plays Snitch, John Dodds takes the role of Snatch, Jackie O’Sullivan appears as Lady Devilla Hardup, Sue Cook plays the magic making Fairy Godmother, and returning grand dame, Mark Crook, takes the role of the other Ugly Sister, Viagra.

And this 40th birthday bash would not be the same without veteran of those seasonal shows in the 1970s, Bill Turton, returning to the BATS stage in the part of the Major Domo.

Director Gordon says Cinderella promises to be BATS most spectacular production yet - full of knaves and princes, dames and clowns.

“Since 1974 and that first panto (Aladdin) the dedicated thespians and backstage teams who have made up the BATS membership have been producing traditional family pantomimes,” adds Gordon. “And this year what better way to celebrate the 40th but with a new production of Cinderella, perhaps the best known and most loved of all pantomimes.

“It's been a real privilege to have been asked by the committee to direct the 40th pantomime, following in the footsteps of all those other directors who created the environment where BATS are recognised as one of the best local pantomimes.

“With a script full of jokes and madcap fun, I'm looking forward to seeing this cast of new and old faces entertain our audiences, and really hope that the whole cast and crew enjoy being in this special production.”

Cinderella runs from Friday-Sunday, January 10-12, and Wednesday-Saturday, January 15-18.

Performances start at 7.30pm with Saturday and Sunday 2pm matinees Box office 07792-777213.