The British premiere of the musical Sweet Smell Of Success is an emotional roller coaster guaranteed to keep you spellbound for the evening.
Set in 1952 New York and based on the novella by Ernest Lehman who co-wrote its film screenplay with Clifford Odets, it follows the fortunes of young press agent Sidney Falcone (Adrian der Gregorian), who's desperate for fame and influence.
What follows is a harrowing depiction of the power and corruption of the media which might ring true for many in Britain today.
But it's also a story about the destructiveness of personal obsession.
The villainous JJ Hunsecker (David Bamber), a ruthless and amoral member of the media elite whose column is "read by 60 million Americans," as he likes to remind us at every opportunity, can make or break careers.
Hunsecker's a nasty piece of work and that's clear from the start with his links to crooked cops, malicious rumour-mongering and haughty, dismissive treatment of the penniless hacks intent on getting an item into his all-powerful column.
But it's his destructive relationship with his half-sister Susan (Caroline Keiff), whom he clearly adores, which sows the seeds of tragedy.
The young Falcone, willing to do anything to get the break the old man can give him, is drawn ever deeper into a duplicitous plot to break up her relationship with a young pianist to the point where his own moral compass is completely destroyed.
Falcone does regain his conscience eventually but it's too late and he meets a predictably grisly end.
The context of a corrupt city elite and a paranoid cold war outlook - 1952 was the height of McCarthyism - is key to the action. One bid to discredit Susan's young beau is in fact to claim he's in the Communist Party.
Directed by Mehmet Ergen, the pace is fast and the brilliantly choreographed dance scenes superb, though pick your seat with care if you can - not all the stage is visible from the balcony.
Sweet Smell of Success is a literally all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza with an addictive '50s showbiz feel.
Runs until December 22. Box office: (020) 7503-1646.