SUNNY Afternoon has all the ingredients of great theatre - a true story, time-less music and first-class performances.

Some music biographies on stage are hit and miss.

But when you have the man who wrote the songs - Ray Davies - creating the concept you know you have a thoughtful winner from the West End onwards and outwards.

Ray, who with younger brother David, turned The Kinks into '60s icons even made a guest appearance in the audience at the first night on the Liverpool leg of this UK tour.

His involvement has ensured multi-accolades.

It's easy to see why as the story chronicles the ups and downs of these working class, self-appointed Muswell Hill-billies before that area of London became trendy.

We see them at home aiming to get away from Dead End Street and later in the studios eventually making number one on Top of the Pops.

Along the way talented - but reckless - riff king Dave thrashes hotels while the band conquer the UK charts and Ray gets married.

We see them fall foul of the United States musicians union and the band were banned from playing for what could have been four lucrative years.

This is a lengthy show - ten minutes short of three hours.

It packs a lot in in from a tight, eye-opening script from John Penhall and Edward Hall's direction. 

It's a slick production rich in dialogue, featuring witty rock references about John Lennon, The Who and a remark about rock knighthoods being the most topical . . . isn't that right, Sir Ray?

There's plenty of rock and roll soul searching but the songs still speak volumes.

The wide-aged group audience are treated to 20 Kinks classics many with clever arrangements others true to the originals that have become jukebox and radio station favourites to this day.

The enigmatic Ray is played by Ryan O'Donnell who captures the complex personality of the Kinks frontman weaving from creative bursts to melancholy.

And the boisterous Dave, played by energetic and electric Mark Newnham, showed the touch-paper chemistry between the siblings - they were like chalk and cheese.

The tension was there too between guitarist Pete Quaife (Garmon Rhys) and Andrew Gallow as angry drummer Mick Avory.

They too put all musical differences aside on stage.

Songs such as Days are given a wonderful acapela flourish while the rockers such as You Really Got MeAll Day and All of the Night and Set Me Free pulsate.

There's pure nostalgia from Carnaby Street and the influential 60s fashion and dance.

There is a beautifully-constructed scene seeing how the band put together the whimsical Waterloo Sunset (originally written about Liverpoo) now firmly regarded as a London love song.

Dedicated Follower of Fashion and Well Respected Man were pure satire.

Ray Davies was, and to a certain degree still is, Englishness personified.

He went on to inspire heavy metal, punk and spear-headed concept albums and pop videos.

But it's the songs that remain the same. 

It's his legacy.

A rousing Lola and a standing ovation cearly illustrated why the Kinks left their mark and never really went away.

Four stars - Magical History Story

The show is on until Saturday.

Tickets from 0844 871 3017