AFTER two highly successful visits to York by impresario Bill Kenwright's Dreamboats And Petticoats in 2010 and 2012, here comes the sequel, where petticoats make way for miniskirts and Joe Brown for The Beatles.

Cosy, comfy comedy duo Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran move their story on from 1961, through late-1962 to mid-1963, to the advent of the Fab Four and the Mersey beat, and a changing world for Hornchurch, Essex couples Bobby and Laura, Norman and Sue and Ray and Donna.

Bobby (Alex Beaumont) and songwriter Laura (company returnee Elizabeth Carter) are struggling for a follow-up hit to their chart-topping Dreamboats And Petticoats and their relationship is fraying too; Sue (Laura Darton) is pregnant but Norman (Alastair Hill) needs his band to succeed to break away from his day job down the drains; Donna (Anna Campkin) starts fretting over why hair stylist and band manager Ray (Stephen Rolley) is spending so much time away from her.

As before, songs of the period are wrapped around Marks and Gran's cheeky chappy, homely stories of relationships and hopes of pop stardom that require you to suspend any cynical disbelief and embrace the fun of the ride in the manner of Cliff Richard's Summer Holiday. "They'll never make it," comes the sneering response from new band The Conquests on hearing The Liverpool Foursome (who could that be?!) singing Twist And Shout in The Cavern in a knowing moment that perks up the sometimes prosaic script.

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The Dreamboats And Miniskirts cast. Picture: Darren Bell

You note the spot-on detail, however: McCartney's bass played left handed; Lennon's Rickenbacker guitar, short necked, as it should be. This is the best attribute of Kenwright and Keith Strachan's musical, where Sean Cavanagh's pictorial set designs evoke the early Sixties, matched by Anna Gooch's snappy costume designs and the hairstyles too.

The musical arrangements, overseen by Strachan in his capacity as musical supervisor, are similarly spry and sharp and splendidly varied too, taking in solos, duets, trios, band performances, ensemble numbers and a stunning a cappella rendition of You Really Got A Hold On Me in Act Two. The musicianship is energetic, sprightly and good humoured too, linking well with the principals, while the dual saxophones of Chloe Edwards-Wood's Judy and Laura Sillett's Muriel are a particular delight.

So, why isn't Miniskirts playing to such full houses as Petticoats did, given that it is made from the same cloth? This is one of those occasions where the original was the real deal, whereas the sequel feels like it is clutching at the coat tails, never quite gaining its own momentum rather than coasting. The drama in Monday night's performance took a while to warm up to match the singing and instrumental flair, and remains second fiddle to the songs, but those songs are a joy, from Be My Baby to Breaking Up Is Hard To Do, You Don't Own Me to I Get Around.

Dreamboats And Miniskirts, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at