THERE is always something refreshing in any Bill Kenwright touring version of a classic musical.

Evita - which is only at the Floral until Saturday - has all the West End credentials on a grand scale and yet there is an astonishing intimacy for such a majestic piece of theatre.

This touring Evita, directed by Mr Kenwright and Bob Tomson, stars three accomplished Les Miserables performers.

It is slick and stylish from the start to the sombre yet pulsating lament finale in a this two-hour (including interval) vibrant version.

Choreography by Bill Deamer and musical direction by Anthony Gabrielle and his team of musicians deserve special praise.

Individual and collective performances shine especially the dazzling aristocrats and foot stomping solders sequences.

All three vastly experienced leads are outstanding.

Glenn Carter as Che Guevara has the ability to make you feel he is talking and singing to you.

He weaves in and out of scenes like a beret-clad ghost.

Mike Sterling, as dictator Juan Peron, is dignity personified and his duets with Eva are extremely moving notably on You Must Love Me.

Lucy O'Byrne captures Eva's frailty and feisty characteristics in equal measure.

Her beautifully-conveyed balcony scene rendition of Don't Cry for Me Argentina was one of many highlights.

It's always a joy to hear Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's timeless score including High Flying Adored, On This Night of a Thousand Stars, I'd Be surprisingly Good For You and Another Suitcase and Another Hall here providing lovely harmonies.

I have seen many versions of Evita over the years and I am happy to say this is up there with the best for its sparkling storytelling approach.

The true story of a working class actress turned controversial political figure-head who became iconic and inspirational and was proclaimed 'the spirit of a nation' before her death of cancer at 33 years of age is told with remarkable, crystal clear clarity.

The magic of this particular production is that it is so wonderfully paced.

The West End has come to New Brighton – book a first class ticket for Argentina now.

Oh, what a ... show!

Five stars

Tickets from the box office on 0151 666 0000