It’s sometimes disappointing when advertised performers fail to appear – for whatever reason. Of the three names originally billed in the current UK tour of Chicago, EastEnders star John Partridge (as Billy Flynn), Dancing on Ice and Coronation Street star Hayley Tamaddon (as Roxie), and X Factor winner Sam Bailey (as Mama Morton), only Tamaddon performed at the performance I saw. Bailey is only scheduled to appear at the latter half of this week's performances and was replaced by Mazz Murray, a previous Mama who returns to the role for selected performances only, and young actor Kerry Spark stepped up from the male chorus to play Billy Flynn due to the indisposition of Partridge.

It’s even more disappointing when a show appears to be a shadow of its former self. Having seen this show at the time of its West End opening in 1997 (and subsequent West End casts over the years), it is sad to note how far the production has come from those glory days. Director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Ann Reinking's original West End production was hot in every sense. The Fosse dance moves, the whole style of movement across the stage, made it exciting to watch. This is a show that should sizzle – it needs very strong dancers who can also act and sing well. This was far too much like an evening where the cast were just going through the motions.

Tamaddon's Roxie is far too one-dimensional to be believable. She plays the role for laughs and isn't a strong enough dancer either – her solo speech and 'Roxie' number just fall flat. Sophie Carmen-Jones fairs slightly better as Velma and at least tries to inject some element of variation and interest in her character. She could go further on the sass and sarcasm of the character, but her ‘All That Jazz’ is a passable version of the show’s most well-known number. However, the whole point of Chicago is that the audience should be rooting for Roxie one minute then Velma the next – it's a competition between the two as to who will become the most notorious and successful – this element was completely lacking here, and neither lead attempted the once compulsory cartwheel at the end either.

Young Kerry Spark is actually a real find as Billy Flynn – vocally he absolutely nails the role. It's not his fault in any way that he is far too young to play the part and his youthful features and voice lack the suave sophistication an older actor can bring to the role. Gina Murray’s Mama Morton was too nice, too refined, although Mama’s duet with Velma, ‘Class’ is still one of Kander and Ebb’s greatest numbers from the show and is well done here.

With the ensemble failing to give the high-energy performance that Chicago demands, it was left to Ben Atkinson and the band to inject some much-needed impetus to what could and should have been a much better production. With Jessie Wallace (aka EastEnders Kat Slater) about to join the cast as Mama Morton, let's hope she injects some much-needed life into this once-classic show.