WALKING into the auditorium at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre and seeing a black bowler hat sitting atop a single wooden chair, it's immediately obviously which musical we're here to see.

The styling of CHICAGO has become so iconic, it really needs little by way of introduction.

Set amidst the decadence of the 1920s, the show tells the story of housewife and nightclub dancer Roxie, who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her.

Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines.

Granted, it doesn't sound much like the premise for an evening of enjoyable entertainment. But, with the input of legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, and a varied, but memorable score including All That Jazz, The Cell Block Tango and Razzle Dazzle, that's exactly what you get.

CHICAGO has some of the biggest characters in a musical, with a host of celebrities playing the major roles in this UK and Ireland tour. Former Corrie star Faye Brookes takes the part of the coy, astute Roxie Hart, with Darren Day playing unscrupulous lawyer Billy Flynn and 80s pop sensation Sinitta as the indomitable Mama Morton.

With no backdrop other than the phenomenal live orchestra (and what a joy it was to see the talent on stage rather than hidden down in the pit), no costume changes and the only props a few chairs and a couple of ladders, there really is nowhere to hide.

But this is an incredibly slick, fast-paced production, with every single moment choreographed and executed perfectly. Those iconic Fosse nuances may be tiny – the shrug of a shoulder, the twirl of a wrist – but they are just exquisite to watch.

No surprise it's the longest-running American musical in Broadway and West End history – an absolute must-see.

CHICAGO is at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre until Saturday, November 20.