EVER since Louisa M. Alcott wrote her story about four sisters and their mother struggling to cope while their father is away during the American Civil War, it has been a hit.

Now the 150-year-old story, based on Allan Knee’s book, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, has been set to music by Jason Howland and, although not every song is memorable, many are.

They are well designed to suit the sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth.and Amy.

The leader of the four, is Jo, the would-be writer. After many rejections, she succumbs to the advice of Professor Bhaer (Johan Munir) whom she eventually marries, and successfully writes about the people she knows.

Songs, Better and Astonishing are tailor-made for Amie Giselle-Ward’s strong voice.

Her Jo is the linchpin of the show and she sings and speaks with the passion with which her head-strong character overflows

Katie Marie-Carter’s Amy sings The Most Amazing Thing with her fiancé, Laurie (Connor Hughes). She matures from a petulant child into a delightful young woman.

Jemima Watling’s Meg is mature from the start and a positive influence on her siblings.

Eventually all three marry but Beth, the sweetest of them, does not. Circumstances prevent it but, played by Cathy Read, she wins and almost breaks the hearts of the audience.

This heart warming European premiere in which the entire cast excel, is a must see.

• Little Women, the Musical, is at Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester until December 9. There will be a gala performance on Thursday, November 23 at 7.30.

• For tickets see hopemilltheatre.co.uk. Star rating: * * * *