PACKED with glitz, glamour and plenty of jazz hands, very few West End shows can entertain a crowd quite like the hit musical Chicago.
It doesn't matter how many times this critically acclaimed story is brought back to the stage, it is guaranteed to draw in the crowds.
Empty seats were few and far between at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre last night as the star studded show returned with a bang, quite literally, as the infamous Roxie Hart shot dead her lover.
Propelled back to 1920s Chicago, this is the true story of the one time chorus girl who found herself caged in the notorious Cook County Jail waiting to stand trial for murder and fighting for her position as top lag amidst a host of "murderesses" all pleading mercy on death row.
But the desire to become famous outweighs everything for the self-absorbed Roxie who arrives in the sing and steals the limelight from fellow inmate Velma Kelly - and thrives on the publicity of a circus of journalists and attention of many a male admirer.
You can't help but like Roxie, played outstandingly by actress Hayley Tamaddon, a former Dancing on Ice star better known to most as Corrie star Andrea, before she kissed goodbye to the cobbled streets last year.
With an array of extraordinary facial expressions and a simply stunning voice, Tamaddon is superb for the role. Particular praise should be heaped on her rag-doll-esque performance during the song "We Both Reached For The Gun" when slick and slimy lawyer Billy Flynn, played by John Partridge (once Christian on Eastenders), controls her like a ventriloquist dummy as he trains in her how to plead her defence.
• For tickets call the Box Office on 023 8071 1811 or book online at mayflower.org.uk
Partridge himself carried off the role of smarmy lawyer very well, and his voice is fantastic but a slight increase in volume to add power wouldn't go amiss.
Sophie Carmen-Jones is simply made for the demanding role of the sassy and sexy Velma Kelly while former X-Factor star Sam Bailey proved she has more than one string to her bow, looking perfectly at home on the stage where she received a very warm welcome.
With a company of class-act dancers and an orchestra that is second to none (tip: you should definitely stay and see how they close the show!) Chicago is one not to be missed before it rolls out of town this Saturday.