It’s audition time at the youth club as a group of talented Essex-boy (and girl) musicians search for the lead singer who will propel their band to stardom. Correction: their group, for we are at the dawn of the 1960s when bands were either of the brass variety or led by the likes of Billy Cotton and Ted Heath (the other one).

First up is the club leader’s son Bobby (Josh Capper), every inch – and not many of those – a schoolboy and still in his uniform. All signs of schoolboy reserve, and nerves, vanish, however, as he tears into a rip-roaring performance of Chris Montez’s Let’s Dance. He’s good – so good, in fact, that one group member hails him as being better than their last prospective vocalist – “the bloke from Dartford with the thick lips”. (In case we miss the reference – and we don’t – Mr Jagger is name-checked at this point.) But then Billy is himself outclassed as Norman (Jonathan Bremner) – huge quiff in place, upper lip curled in a sneer of sexy contempt – slides sensuously up to the microphone to knock us cold with Dion’s The Wanderer. This is a man so confident of his own appeal that Henry Winkler’s Fonze – seen strutting his stuff on this same Milton Keynes stage in last year’s panto – seems positively self-deprecating in comparison. The group hasn’t found its singer; the singer has found his group, henceforward to be known as Norman’s Conquests.

Now the question remains about who is going to get the girl – or, rather, which of the girls.

Bespectacled school swot Laura (Lauren Hood) clearly has a tendresse for Bobby, so she isn’t thinking just of his musical abilities when she proposes the two combine to submit an entry to the National Association of Youth Club’s songwriting contest that his dad has just announced.

Bobby, for his part, is drawn to the pneumatic Sue (Francesca Jackson), though it seems that she has eyes only for Norman – and anything else in trousers. Well might Bobby’s straightlaced dad (Peter Gerald) dub her, in the words of the Del Shannon classic, a Little Town Flirt.

You will probably have gathered by now that Dreamboats and Petticoats (director Bob Tomson) has both a warm feel for the period – also evoked in Sean Cavanagh’s designs with their adverts for such long-forgotten products as Gleem toothpaste – and the ready wit you would expect from a book supplied by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran.

The music (supervisor Keith Strachan) is stunning, with superb work from players and singers. Josh Capper – who impressed me, fresh from drama school, in the Oxford Playhouse’s 2007 panto Aladdin – is on brilliant vocal form. He even rises – the right word – to the demands of Roy Orbison’s glorious In Dreams and Only the Lonely, with their notoriously challenging climaxes. The awesome performance of Eddie Cochrane’s C’mon Everybody from Wayne Smith – who supplies a third love interest, with Clare Ivory, as Laura’s barber brother Ray – sends everyone home with a smile on their face.

This is feel-good, sound-great entertainment at its best.

Until Saturday. Tel: 0844 871 7652 (