Chicago, Norwich

Phew – what an exhausting show! And that's only watching it! From the front the curtain goes up and the cast start to belt out All That Jazz, the pace of this top musical doesn't let up one bit.

Phew – what an exhausting show! And that's only watching it! From the front the curtain goes up and the cast start to belt out All That Jazz, the pace of this top musical doesn't let up one bit.

It's been much anticipated in the Fine City and certainly this production, although not starring any of the top names we've associated with the show since it opened in London five years ago – Ute Lemper, Denise Van Outen and now Gaby Roslin and ex-EastEnder Michael Greco – it delivers big time.

The key to its success is undoubtedly its sex appeal. The raunchy dance numbers and skimpy outfits on both the boys and girls immediately catch the eye and the whole production follows their every move with lingering deliberation.

The lighting is obviously harsh and somehow adds to the revealing feel of the piece and the show is so tightly choreographed you spot every little flick of the wrist or wiggle of the hips.

It mixes just about every type of music from Dixieland to rag, soft-shoe and jazz with the Fred Ebb lyrics revealing a cynicism you might not expect. Certainly, the many caustic lines continually point out flaws in the American judicial system and the shallowness of the media and the public they serve.

The show is based on two strong, yet scheming, women who make the most of their somewhat humble lot in life.

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Played by Emma Clifford (Roxie Hart) and Lisa Donmall (Velma Kelly), they cannot be faulted and should send sales of black stockings soaring!

For me the only weak point was John Altman, former EastEnder baddie Nick Cotton. Not a natural singer, he played wheeler-dealer lawyer Billy Flynn and put in a workman-like performance.

The silver-screen version of this musical goes on release next month with Catherine Zeta Jones and Richard Gere in lead roles so those of you who want more should book your seats now as it's sure to be great.

t This production runs at the Theatre Royal until December 7 (not Sunday) and a few tickets remain. Box office: 01603 630000.

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