A DECADE on from its sensational West End opening, The Jersey Boys supplies our New Year treat at the New Theatre and confirms its status as the best stage show of its kind.

The timeless tunes of The Four Seasons, perfectly performed in a way scarcely indistinguishable from the originals, supply a powerful pull for the production.

But that is only part of the show’s appeal. As I wrote three years ago, when a tour first hit town, this is a jukebox musical that has us asking: Why can’t they all be like this?

Besides the songs, and the story of their creation, we are presented with a rounded, warts-and-all picture of the seminal band that produced them. While some bands would have gone for a sanitised version of their biography, no such restraint was placed here on writers Marshal Brickman and Rick Elice.

The criminal background of these wrong-side-of-the-tracks kids is introduced from the outside in the well-managed narrative. Commentary on the action is divided between the four members of the group, in sections named for the seasons.

First up is the tough nut Tommy DeVito (Simon Bailey), whose contempt for the law sits uneasily with his work in fashioning the band.

The group’s principal vocal asset comes in the shape of Frankie Castelluccio, who wisely changes his name to Valli. From the brilliant Michael Watson comes a perfect facsimile of Valli’s trademark falsetto in such show-stopping numbers as Bye, Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You and My Eyes Adored You.

The band’s creative asset in songwriter Bob Gaudio is no less winningly presented by Declan Egan, though his writing partnership with camp producer – “the best ears in the business” – Bob Crewe (Joel Elferink) is not fullly explored.

Bassist Nick Massi, who owns up to being the Ringo of the group, is strongly performed, as on the last tour, by Lewis Griffiths. To him falls narration of the startling episode when DeVito’s financial profligacy brings trouble with the Mob. Happily friendly boss Gyp De Carlo (Mark Heenehan) is able to sort it.

A special mention for Olive Robinson, Phoebe May Newman and Tara Young who show their versatility in a range of female roles.

Under director Des McAnuff, and with musical supervision by Ron Melrose and choreography by Sergio Trujillo, his is not to be missed.

It runs until January 6 at Oxford’s New Theatre.