JUKEBOX musicals roll off the production line at Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran's factory of cosy, comfy comedies with an efficiency that would have pleased Victorian industrialists.
Dreamboats And Petticoats, the original and still the best, first filled the Grand Opera House with early Sixties' nostalgia in 2010 and returned in 2012, since when Save The Last Dance For Me popped in in 2013 and Petticoats made way for Dreamboats And Miniskirts in a 2015 sequel.
Now Petticoats are back in fashion as Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield mount another tour of the lively, funny, saucy but not rude, all-singing, all-dancing West End hit inspired by Universal's Dreamboats And Petticoats rock'n'roll albums.
An attic conversation between Fender guitar-playing grandad Bobby (Jimmy Johnston) and his granddaughter leads back to 1961, somewhere in Essex, where Sean Cavanagh's poster backdrop of Sixties memorabilia encloses the raised band, whose jostling, bantering members are just as important to Bob Tomson's cast of actor-musicians as the principals. In fact, all over the stage, there are fantastic, fun performances brimful of energy, cheek and chutzpah.
Young, spotty, burgeoning songwriter Bobby (Alistair Higgins) worships Roy Orbison from afar and "tart with a heart" Sue (Laura Darton) from rather closer, but still seemingly out of reach as the polka-dot peach of the local youth club run by Bobby's dad (Johnston again). Forever dressed in variations of red, she savours having the kind of ample poster-girl looks where the upper body stops moving five seconds after the rest as she dances.
Natural-born lead singer Norman (Alastair Hill), cocksure, somewhat older, with his Essex Elvis quiff, is immediately on her radar, but innocent Bobby won't stand aside, even if bespectacled Laura (Elizabeth Carter), his fellow songwriting talent, has the shy hots for him.
From Sine On Harvey Moon to Goodnight Sweetheart, Marks and Gran are masters of the easy-flowing, humorous, nostalgic, ever-so-English script, full of smart retorts and physical comedy, whether dance-floor pratfalls or boxing-ring knockdowns, and they have a gentle, if knowing way with capturing young love/lust.
The ace in their Dreamboats pack is how each vignette leads with cheesy relish into a familiar song, from Shakin' All Over to Tell Laura I Love Her, Bobby's Girl to Runaround Sue, coupled with brilliant arrangements that show off all manner of vocal combinations. Solos and duets, group numbers and ensemble set pieces are all here, and the a cappella singing is fabulous.
Bob Tomson's show is as polka-dot spot on as when it first toured; Johnston, Higgins, Hill, Darton and Carter are all terrific, and is there a better sight than Sixties' girls playing saxophones in tandem? Nostalgia is just as good as it used to be.
Dreamboats And Petticoats, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at atgtickets.com/york