It all sounds wrong on paper: dream sequences, a Football fanzine personified, and 80s tunes providing the musical set-list of a surreal production. There is verging-on-pantomime self-referential material and directly addressing the audience. Self-aware remarks gloss over the predictable plot points. In spite of all this, Wayne Gumble's Stand and Deliver! is charming and warming.

The bereaved Goldenboy family are cleaning their garage for an unspecified amount of time following the mother's death. They, joined by a chorus, sing Tears for Fears' Mad World, and the whole production becomes a time-travelling sequence of events. A track list of nostalgic hits doesn't rouse the 80s feeling alone. It harks back to a soft-edged period of innocence and adventure: discovering love, aspiration and sex. Sense certainly isn't present. The earnest performances and commitment to being silly, however, mean the romp doesn't require much navigation.

Stand and Deliver! is energetic and the twee elements are all very knowing. Sport commentators wink to and nudge the audience, making it clear that we are witnessing a fantasised portrayal of life rather than a serious attempt to imitate it. Names like Antwerp ("Twerp!"), Nell Cleavage, Clive Urinal and central protagonist Frank Goldenboy are Christmas cracker jokes: painfully obvious, but the cringe is where the comedy lies.

The absurdity is beguiling. The Carry On... style innuendo, the perils of time-travel, Frank Goldenboy's change of career to a gun-toting 19th Century highwayman... it's all brilliantly bonkers. It's impossible not to become awash with the frenzy. The Evil Stepmother equivalent in the production is Penny Flats (Christine Corser), a vampy football club owner – think Margaret Thatcher in a different profession, a bit of a sex symbol and with a habit of speaking only in rhyming couplets.

Andy Thomas is hilarious as soprano Renato, while Paris Goldenboy (Kara Lily Hayworth) and Match of the Day/Stand and Deliver! commentator Ulrika Pearce (Terema Wainwright) give a unique, joyful energy to every scene they're in. Hayworth's singing voice is remarkable: strong, beautiful and entrancing. Nigel Barker's Frank Goldenboy managed to capture a youthful spark and appetite for adventure. Unfortunately, the zeal of the main cast was not mirrored by the chorus, with most of them seeming disinterested and unsynchronised to the mood that is teeming from the production.

Stand and Deliver! is organised chaos: part fantasy, part opera and wholly tongue-in-cheek. The audience and cast are all in the joke together. Live musical accompaniment adds a very personal feel, as does the performers' clear enjoyment and the madcap adventures they are performing.

Stand And Deliver!, at King's Head, IslingtonStefan Nicolaou reviews Stand and Deliver! at the King's Head Theatre.3