And so I have been to my final royal ball of the year thanks to Prince Charming and Cinders.

I keep checking the Christmas mail for my invite from Harry.

But these two fairy tale characters have street cred - they even have canapés on the palace balcony.

The Empire always like to put on an end-of-year celebration.

This spectacle certainly has its ‘how did they do that?’ sequences.

There’s a fabulous flying unicorn and a mesmerising split-second costume change where Cinders literally transforms from rags to riches in the blink of an eye.

The five-piece orchestra enjoy themselves on such upbeat numbers as a re-worked I will Survive and Shut Up and Dance.

Olivia Sloyan is a versatile Cinders as she illustrated on the scene-setting opening song By the Mersey where name checks are flowing from Liverpool to Bebington and Birkenhead.

Blue and Hollyoaks star Duncan James is consistently confident as is Scott Mobley’s dapper Dandini.

One enchanted woodland scene is set in a snowy Sefton Park.

It made me want to get out my ice skates.

This production respects the traditional panto format. The formidable Fairy Godmother is played by mult-gifted Jodie Prenger.

Her time at New Brighton Pavilion this year as Shirley Valentine has perfected her accent.

Her aerial arrival on stage - brandishing her magic wand - was quite an entrance.

It is very strong on humour with a ‘stop-start’ medley of pop hits.

A well timed scene laced with gags.

John Evans is an ebullient Buttons who worked his striped socks off.

It can’t be easy being the dogsbody at Hard Up Hall but jolly John has an instant rapport with the kids as shown later with the young volunteers brought up on stage for the Music Man routine.

Bob Tomson directs, The West End legend knows all about value for money.

The standard of sets and costumes is top notch again.

And the two Ugly sisters- Scousers Daniel Taylor and James Templeton - deserve one of my ‘DAFTA ‘ awards for their outrageous costumes.

Unusually the show doesn’t end with a rocking encore – the audience were certainly up for it which, in itself says say so much about this slick panto’s success.

A truly glittering FOUR Stars!

On until January 7, for tickets call the box office on 0844 8713 017.