Theatre has mined a profitable seam of nostalgia in recent years with shows detailing the life stories of American stars such as Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers. Now along comes one devoted to Neil Sedaka. He is not, I would suggest, a performer in quite the same league, though his additional fame as a songwriter, with such enduring classics as Solitaire and Amarillo to his credit, gives an extra dimension of interest to his career.

With a book by that ever-reliable chronicler of the rock ’n’ roll years, Philip Norman, we can feel sure the tale is presented accurately, with no attempt to ‘whitewash’ his subject or his family and associates.

Here we find Sedaka eventually coming to grief as a result of that familiar showbiz figure, the bent manager. He arrives in the form of an air-conditioning salesman who conducts a long affair with the star’s manipulative old mum (Julia Farino) with the consent of her easy-going cabby husband (Simon Connolly). Guess who was financing their lavish lifestyle?

By then, Sedaka had fallen a long way from his youthful peak with hits such as Oh Carol and Calendar Girl penned with his long-term musical collaborator Howard Greenfield (Edward Handoll).

The story of the second part of the show essentially concerns his return to the limelight in the 1970s, under the guiding hand of Elton John and his Rocket record label. A well-received portrait of Elton is supplied by Kieran Brown who facially, in fact, would have given us an excellent likeness of Sedaka. As it is, we have the brilliant Wayne Smith who, while he might not look very much like the star — he’s whippet thin, for one thing — certainly gives a tremendous vocal impersonation.

No one seeing this uplifting, brilliantly staged, but just slightly over-long show (directors Keith Strachan and Bill Kenwright) can fail to be knocked out by the performances he delivers of great songs like Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do and That’s When the Music Takes Me. The onstage band (musical director Pierce Tee), meanwhile, blows up a storm.

Until Saturday. Box office: Telephone 0844 871 7652 (