Chicago, Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth

THE first time I saw Chicago, back in the late 1990s, I was disappointed.

I don’t know whether I’ve changed, it’s changed, or a bit of both, but Monday night’s opening night of the week-long Bournemouth run was sensational.

As is often the case with this sassy, saucy production, it’s the women who stand out, and Twinnie-Lee Moore as Velma Kelly kept up this tradition with finesse – strong and gorgeous, her character commanded the stage, high-kicking her way into the audience’s hearts and making us laugh with her hilarious asides delivered in a perfect American twang.

Any early fears I had that EastEnders’ Emma Barton as Roxie Hart would be completely overshadowed by Moore, however, were cast aside as the talented singer belted out a near-perfect We Both Reached for the Gun followed by a stunning Roxie solo, cementing her position in this extremely talented company.

Dancing throughout the production was in perfect formation, jazz hands aplenty, as we followed the story of two murderesses in 1920s Chicago, fighting for the headlines and the not guilty verdict.

Comedy abounded, particularly Velma’s I Know a Girl, and Adam Stafford’s Mr Cellophane for ignored hubby Amos was touching and delicate.

Gary Wilmot’s Billy Flynn had just the right amount of razzle dazzle (and another great accent), with the only slightly under-par performance coming from Wendy-Lee Purdy’s Mama.

This outstanding company deserves all the plaudits it’s bound to receive for a splendid, glitzy and thoroughly entertaining production.