WHEN a show gives you a high-kicking gnome, a leaping goldfish, a sinister trio of giant figs - adding even a feather-crested Elton John into the mix - it could just be a bit too kooky for its own good.

But not this show. Amelie the Musical is utterly delightful.

From the opening scene, when the flight of a blue fly around a Parisian cafe introduces us to various eccentrics we will take to our hearts, not least a day-dreaming waitress called Amelie, I was captivated.

Based on the much-loved film, this exquisite show is about a lonely young woman who carries out acts of kindness that bring joy to those around her.

Brought up by weird, neurotic parents who, fearing for her health, keep her away from the world, Amelie escapes to Paris where she works in a bohemian cafe. Surrounded by people, she shuns human connection; retreating into her dreams and observing the world through a spyglass from her cosy garret.

When the death of “Lady Di” in Paris is announced on her TV, Amelie decides to take up the mantle of doing kind deeds, starting with tracking down the man whose box of keepsakes she discovers.

It is when she tries to reunite a lost soul called Nino with his bizarre collection of discarded photo-booth snaps that she finally faces the risk of opening up her heart and finding her own happiness.

The story is brought beautifully to life by a fabulous cast, largely made up of impressive actor/musicians, Madeleine Girling's gorgeous set, creating a magical bohemian Paris, and Daniel Messe's enchanting score.

The music is just lovely - one of the best musical theatre scores I've ever heard. Every song was a gem - I left the theatre wanting desperately to listen to the soundtrack on the way home. Highlights included Halfway - "Little boat, big ocean, I'm the girl with the copper spyglass, Who prays that today she will spot her shore, All at once a lighthouse, All at once through the copper spyglass, A light telling me to lean in on the oar, I start to row," sings Amelie at the piano.

French-Canadian actress Audrey Brisson is fabulous as Amelie. Her powerful voice and athletic strength - she rises through the air to her rooftop garret holding by simply onto a lampshade - are almost at odds with her petite frame.

Amelie is a complex character - reserved yet loving, childlike yet wise - who manages to steal everyone's hearts despite shying away from the world. Audrey has a bewitching, almost other-worldly presence, and is a powerhouse of a performer.

A lovely performance too from Danny Mac as gentle Nino, a man searching for meaning in ghostly photo booths.

The terrific ensemble cast of actor-musicians, playing cellos, violins, guitars, accordion and drums on stage, conjure an evocative sense of dimly-lit Parisian streets and the threads of joys and loss weaving through them. There is constant movement; a colourful, endearing montage of people, instruments and puppetry.

The movement stops for the scene that is at the heart of every romantic comedy - except Amelie is no ordinary romantic comedy. And this is no ordinary love scene. There are no violins, no tinkling piano. There is just silence that speaks so loudly it fills the auditorium, creating a heart-stopping intimacy.

This is a funny, moving, gentle story about human loneliness and connections. Go and see it. It will capture your heart.

At the Alhambra until Saturday.