NICK Lane's latest family show begins as it means to go on with an announcement that the sending and receiving of carrier pigeons during the performance is not permitted. And people should turn off their mobile phones too.

It's the irresistible mix of the knowing, the witty, the childish, the surreal and the downright daft that make Lane - writer, director and half the cast - something of a genius at creating this type of show. If anything, this five-star treat is even more imaginative and funnier than his previous York shows, The Hunchback Of Notre Dame and Beauty And The Beast.

By the time the dwarf Robert De Niro appears - and I won't spoil the surprise by revealing the exact circumstances - Lane and co-star Fiona Wass have already scaled the heights of silliness in this retelling of the Snow White fairy tale.

While Wass appeals as a down-to-earth Snow White and scares the kids as her evil stepmother, Lane gives us a collection of true originals. Like Teapot the Guardian-reading dog ("I'm not eccentric, I have character"); Dudley Huntsman, the axeman and children's entertainer; and an out-of-work actor who specialises in playing dwarfs despite his height.

Alas, the magnificent seven little people have gone off to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood, but Lane has an ingenious trick up his sleeve to get them into the action.

What's great is that the show works on two levels. While youngsters get to shout "Pants" and "Bum", and laugh at fart and poo jokes, the adults can appreciate the more sophisticated humour that Lane has slipped in.

Until April 2. Tickets (01904) 623568.

Published: 11/03/2005