REVIEW: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Kings Theatre, Southsea, until Saturday, March 25.

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A superb performance from Strictly Come Dancing's Joanne Clifton carries the show, but the support all around her is excellent.

Clifton completely nails Millie Dillmount who leaves Kansas behind her to turn up in New York just as the 20s are roaring.

She thinks she’s got it all worked out. She’s determined to marry for money. The next couple of hours help her realise that love really does need to come into it too.

Clifton’s skill is that, despite her aims, Millie never appears a gold digger. Instead, she gives us a thoroughly endearing Millie, sparky, loveable and full of life.

Along the way she even finds time to confound the dastardly Mrs Meers (Lucas Rush), the evil landlady with a nasty little line in white slavery.

Meanwhile, Graham MacDuff brings the house down as the heartbrokenly drunk boss Trevor Graydon; Sam Barrett wins plenty of hearts with his engagingly persistent Jimmy Smith; and

Katherine Glover delivers Miss Dorothy Brown to perfection.

It’s just the running time that needs reconsidering. Rather less would be significantly more. Cut two or three songs from an overlong first half, and it will sparkle as much as the second and bring the skills of the cast into much sharper focus.

The choreography, the costumes, the look… all are gorgeous. It just needs to pick up the pace in the first half.

Phil Hewitt

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