Police Academy's Steve Guttenberg and his exceptional cast impress Robert Fisk in an unmissable all-singing, all-dancing staging of Cinderella at The Churchill, Bromley

Once upon a time there was a credit-crunch free land.

Everyone danced and sang and learned that dreams come true if you believe.

Sadly this land is a fantasy, not reality, but in Cinderella at The Churchill everyone can share in the optimism.

The rags-to-riches tale may not be a new one but this staging is packed with enough sparkle and razzmatazz to make the age-old story feel fresh.

Cinderella’s home village is full of colour and spectacle with villagers dancing from street to street. Their enthusiasm was so fervent that up-and-coming actor Kerri Watt pulled stomach muscles in rehearsals as she danced.

But this was not noticeable as her performance led the audience to be lost in wintry magic.

Laughs come thick and fast thanks to the whole cast especially Buttons (funnyman Tucker) and Cinderella’s flamboyantly-dressed evil cousins.

Seemingly attempting to top Britney Spears’ record for costume changes, Peaches (David Langham) and Pixie (John Barr) are the pair you will love to boo and hiss.

As is always the way with pantomime jokes they vary hugely in their sophistication, ranging from those which could be found in a Christmas cracker to asking young girls who venture up on stage about apartheid.

Yes, you read correctly – apartheid.

It might seem a strange thing to bring up in the middle of light entertainment but trust me it works (and enables a scenery change to take place).

George Wood’s script is helped along by sterling performances from a star-studded cast, including Hollywood legend Steve Guttenberg (who, of course, played Cadet Mahoney in four of the Police Academy movies).

Coming on to the film’s theme tune, he also is just a cadet panto experience wise.

But he has the parents cracking up with his 1980s-themed banter – and plugs for his movies - and more than earns his police/panto badge.

Being a child of the 1980s herself Laura Hamilton was just a toddler when most of Steve Guttenberg’s box office hits were released.

But they work well together and the chemistry between them makes their father-daughter relationship believable.

She is astoundingly good as the beautiful blonde Cinderella who sings and dances her way into not only Prince Charming’s heart but also the hearts of the audience.

With her dazzling dance and vocal talents it is strange the presenter usually spends her days avoiding being slimed on Nickelodeon rather than on the West End stage.

But Andrew Lloyd Webber’s loss is Bromley’s gain as she captivates and enthrals the crowds.

Acting alongside her is West End actor (recently seen in the High School Musical stage adaption) Mark Evans as Prince Charming.

It is either a match made in heaven or fashioned by the fairy godmother Helen Lederer. Whatever it is, there is an absolutely fabulous spark between them.

Going to see Cinderella may not stop the country’s credit crunch. But it will make you laugh, cheer, dance and feel better about life. Quite simply, it’s a must see.

Cinderella at The Churchill, Bromley until Jan 18. 0870 0606620.