I enjoy well-crafted pantomimes in which everybody achieves a pleasing standard, nobody forgets his lines and somebody remembers to close the curtain at the end of the first half.
It doesn't matter whether they happen in an unraked village hall where your head, of necessity, keeps moving from side to side in response to the head immediately in front of you, or in an 800-seat theatre. A good pantomime generates its own atmosphere, and although it may be cosier and more intimate among the bobbing heads than it is if a company is selling its wares in a purpose-built emporium there is still something special about it.
It's the annual opportunity - and in some corners it is still holding sway as we get ever-closer to March - for adults to show that they are kids at heart and join in the booing of the baddy and the warning shouts to Jack or Wishee-Washee that somebody is about to touch the plant or the parcel that he has left at the lip of the stage, usually stage-left.
The pantomime is customarily a child's introduction to the magic of theatre - which is why I am pleased that the vogue for splattering it with muck, that was all the rage a few years ago, seems largely to have subsided. I trust I shall never hear again the latest incident involving some alleged comedian who affronts most of his audience when he says, "Let's get the kids out of here, then we can get down to it properly."
There is, of course, muck and muck, just as there are ways for a company to flirt with it without doing too much harm.
I cringe when - far more rarely these days - something that is foul and blatant emerges from the script. In all probability it goes over the heads of the youngsters - but even if the children don't understand, they are liable to ask Mummy what that man meant, which spoils Mummy's enjoyment of the panto.
On the other hand, if it is subtle enough for children not to notice while it gives adults an unexpected smile, I don't have a problem with it. For instance, I hear of an amateur production of Aladdin in which the heroine's name was given in the programme as Poppy Tupper.
Even when she was referred to onstage with her full name, there was no noticeable reaction - well, you can't hear smiles - and there was a similar response, or lack of it, when the Emperor remarked that he hoped the surname of her husband-to-be was not Tinner.
Not that Poppy claims to be a trend-setter in these matters. She's just the one who has surfaced this time round, from a pack that includes Ben Dover and Philma Crackin.
But the point I'm making is, if it's so subtle that even the grown-ups don't get it, I see little to worry about.
But heaven preserve us from a return to the days when purveyors of pantomimes behaved as if they were proffering a late-night revue, with no holds barred. That is not what pantomimes are for.
* My colleague Paul Marston was impressed by the slant imparted by director Liz Daly to the Circle Players' production of Five Blue-Haired Ladies Sitting on a Green Park Bench.
She introduced a busker who sat on the stage with his hat on the floor for donations - and he played pleasing little tunes to cover the gaps as the ladies went on and off the stage.
After the interval, when the ladies moved to heaven, the man was replaced by a flute-playing angel. Unfortunately, the angel was accidentally shot by one of the old girls in the final scene - but, as Paul Marston remarked, that's life. . . or is it death?
* Staff member Martin Drury has written and directed a new version of Dracula that is dropping into venues around the Midlands with its cast of students of King Edward VI Five Ways School, Birmingham.
Still to come for the 12-18-year-olds - with an Indian Dracula and their dance, music and martial arts - are dates at the Rose Theatre, Kidderminster (tomorrow and Friday), and The Drum, Aston, on Wednesday next week.
* If you have the misfortune to peruse this corner on a fairly frequent basis, you may have noticed that I have become prone to recounting moments of real-life theatre that I believe could well be adapted to the stage in a bid to add a bit of depth to cardboard characters who at present are often simply there to push the plot along.
Here's another one.
My former colleague Jim Clayton was recently privileged to undertake a tour of my small lawn while I cursed the locality's cats, blaming them for about 10 small piles of putrefying matter that were scattered about my modest greensward.
But no, said my percipient visitor, the culprit was a fox. Moreover, and this is where I'm sure he could be useful as a theatrical character with an interest that singled him out from the throng, he said that when he got home he would look it up - in his two-part dictionary of turds.
How's that for a sub-plot pursuit? Playwrights of the world, take note.
* WHAT'S ON
Private Lives Swan Theatre Amateur Company, Swan Theatre, Worcester (to Saturday).
Antigone Birmingham School of Acting, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).
Robert Zucco Birmingham School of Acting, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (to Saturday).
Tidy & Forgive Us Our Trespasses MDCC Theatre Company, Barlow Theatre, Langley (Feb 22 & 23).
The Hired Man Talisman Theatre, Kenilworth (Feb 23-Mar 1).
The Comedy of Errors Hall Green Little Theatre (Feb 25-Mar 1).
Patience Birmingham Savoyards, Arden Hall, Water Orton (Feb 26-Mar 1).
Pippin Birmingham School of Acting, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (Feb 27-Mar 1).
Shoreditch Madonna Birmingham School of Acting, Crescent Theatre, Birmingham (Feb 27-Mar 1).
Dead Certain Norbury Theatre, Droitwich (Feb 27-Mar 1).
The Decorator Coleshill Drama Group, Coleshill Town Hall (Feb 27-Mar 1).