THIS rock musical is so bad that you end up studying everything from the lack of sets, ill-assorted costumes, poor acting, rotten script and second-hand sound to the "kitchen sink" rock/pop song crashing out on stage.

This can't seriously be heading for the West End as promised in the publicity by producer Chris Moreno, who has previously toured Annie and Crazy For You. The lack of a show programme is a warning sign, with the Forum's marketing boss Liz Cooper valiantly using the dressing room list to name as many stars as she possibly can.

Thankfully most of them can sing, with the unmistakable name of Alvin Stardust playing 1970s star Johnny Hurricane, who becomes the Phantom after an acid attack. As Mr S is now over 60 it was a little alarming watching the clock whirl forward 30 years to 2004 and the Phantom being offered a chance to resurrect his career.

With a huge cast, this parody of Gaston La Roux's story is based on a rock musical in a haunted theatre where singer Christine Sparkle (played by Kellie Holmewood) is thrust into the spotlight when the star, Donna Gabanna (Liz King), throws a wobbler. There's plenty of unintentional amusement as stick-thin Holmewood performs with the most buxom chorus-line you're ever likely to see. Stephanie Dooley as the well-endowed Carol Cleavage, Landi Asminowo as TWA Temptation and skimpily-clad Julie Paton (listed as Sandy, but only referred to as Miss Deed) are definitely the high points of the night. With Alvin shouting "Hi ho Silver" as he tackles evil agent Ferdie Fleece in the closing seconds, this is the show that has your jaw bouncing off the floor.

* Runs until Saturday. Box Office: (01642) 552663

Published: 15/10/2004