WHEN a girl is facing the gallows, there's only one thing to do - turn herself into a courtroom sensation.

Loosely based on the 1924 trials of two American murderesses, Kander and Ebb's sassy musical Chicago is a Jazz Age homage but a cautionary tale for our times too. Roxie Hart is a nobody who wants to be a somebody, so when she lands in jail for shooting her lover in a fit of rage she relishes the celebrity status of her high profile trial. Fellow inmate Velma Kelly, a Vaudeville star, quickly becomes yesterday's news when scheming Roxie steals her sharp-suited lawyer and wows the Press with her own star turn.

Murder, adultery, corruption, exploitation and manufactured celebrity - it’s all here in Chicago, and a delighted Alhambra audience lapped up this fabulous production last night. With a stark monochrome set, and the lively orchestra - a collective character in itself - taking up much of the stage, the action unfolded in the slick Bob Fosse choreography, performed with exquisite timing by an excellent cast of dancers.

It is Velma and Roxie who carry the show, and Djalenga Scott and Faye Brookes were mesmerising. Djalenga, a terrific dancer and singer, stole every scene as the awesome Velma Kelly, oozing star power in All That Jazz then bruised by fading fame in I Can't Do It Alone. A class act.

Faye is known for Corrie, and reaching the final of this year's Dancing on Ice, but she's very much a musical theatre star, and she lit up the stage as Roxie - as cute and funny as she was cunning and manipulative. Highlights in a show full of highlights included her ventriloquist's dummy act, We Both Reached For The Gun, with charming and ruthless lawyer Billy Flynn.

Darren Day was an excellent Billy; from his show-stopping entrance, surrounded by dancing girls waving feather fans, he Razzle Dazzled us with smooth moves, a great voice and a twinkle in his eye.

A smooth performance too from Joel Montague as Amos, Roxie's sad husband, quietly heartbreaking in the funny but rather devastating Mister Cellophane.

Sinitta as no-nonsense prison matron Mama Morton brought more vulnerability to the role than we're used to, which I'm not sure worked, but she has an impressive singing voice. And while the casting of Divina De Campo as showbiz reporter Mary Sunshine may lessen the impact of the show's 'big reveal', she gave a terrific performance and got the biggest cheer of the night.

A hugely entertaining killer of a show. It would be a crime to miss it!

* Runs at the Alhambra until Saturday.