The story of the Titanic has been told many times from endless books to TV dramas and film productions from the Kenneth More 1958 version to the 1998 Hollywood blockbuster and consistent documentaries.

It is a timeless, endlessly painful tale of the ill-fated, world’s largest moving object setting sail into a brave new era.

And now we have Titanic - The Musical based on the very real people on board, from the captain and his crew to the three classes of passengers.

A who, what, why, where and when account of the disaster.

The characters all display heart-felt feelings of what brought them to the ship in the first place: love, business, status, ego... indeed, all aspects of life.

An American dream waiting to be shattered.

This five-time Tony Award-winning production directed by Thom Southerland is on its first UK tour.

It records with plenty of facts and figures the maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in April 12, 1912 and its collision with an ice berg.

'The unsinkable ship' sank.

The losses amounted to 1,517 known passengers and this statistic is reinforced on the stark, static set.

There are passages of dialogue but the story is mostly sung with strong, soaring choral style on David Woodhead’s steel-framed stage featuring a few of the millions of Titanic type rivets.

Lighting and sound and the costume department work consistently in tandem with the audience’s imagination.

The music and lyrics by Maury Weston and book by Peter Stone convey the story with passion.

It is the 25 member very strong cast who deserve many of the accolades over the years.

There are some stand-out performances notably Greg Castiglioni’s interpretation of ship designer Thomas Andrews and radio operator Harold Bride played by Oliver Marshall.

One haunting element sees the passengers - some clad in life-jackets - move silently into the audience.

The character of White Star’s Chairman and MD - J. Bruce Ismay (Simon Green) eerily passed me like a ghost.

Pardon my cliché, but I can’t deny a little shiver when down my spine

There are some lighter moments, too, but the emphasis is on the increasingly tense, horrendous outcome leading to a powerful, sobering and sombre finale.

There is fine work throughout the two hour 40 minute production by musical leader Mark Aspinall and his small ‘orchestra.’

This is not a production where you will be dazed by computer graphics or earth- shattering special effects.

The words and performances speak and sing volumes.

Grand, dignified musical drama - four stars!

On until Saturday, for tickets call the Empire box office on 0844 8713 017.