There鈥檚 been shelf after shelf of books penned about the Beatles since they emerged from Liverpool鈥檚 Merseybeat scene in the early 60s.

But how much do you really know that other British four-piece band that made it big in the decade ?the Kinks?

You can no doubt sing some of their numbers, and probably even some of the songs you didn鈥檛 even realise were theirs. You鈥檇 be able to pick Ray Davies out of a line-up.

Actually, the eagle eyed among the first night crowd in Liverpool might even have spotted Sir Ray out there in the audience. Yes, it was a two-Ray Davies night at the Empire .

Anyway, Sunny Afternoon is what you need to bring you right up to Mastermind-level speed.

Sunny Afternoon is at the Liverpool Empire

The musical tells the story of the band鈥檚 rise from obscurity in working class Muswell Hill to worldwide fame, the narrative driven through Davies鈥?lyrics in more than 20 Kinks鈥?numbers, either played in full or part during the evening.

And in fact it鈥檚 a classic tale of a group which makes it to the big time but fractures under the pressure, gets fleeced by the suits around it and, perhaps uniquely to the Kinks, gets banned from the US for refusing to pay American unions their dues.

鈥淚t鈥檚 sod鈥檚 law the only socialist band in the business should be taken down by the unions,?jokes Mr Davies senior when they鈥檙e forced to fly home.

Sunny Afternoon

Ryan O鈥橠onnell reprises his West End role as the softly-spoken, artistically tortured Ray Davies here on tour, trying to square the circle of creativity and fame.

Meanwhile Mark Newnham, whom Liverpool audiences may remember as the young John in Lennon at the Royal Court, gets all the grandstanding fun as younger sibling Dave 鈥榯he Rave鈥?

It鈥檚 sex, drugs, rock 鈥榥鈥?roll, outlandish clothes and swinging on chandeliers all the way. But under all the flamboyance, Newnham is a pretty handy lead guitarist too, cranking out those unmistakable Dave Davies riffs with satisfying welly.

'Dave the Rave' in Sunny Afternoon

If you鈥檙e expecting a concert-style show you鈥檙e going to be disappointed ?the songs wind through the dialogue, rather than the dialogue being merely a springboard to get to the next big number.

But there鈥檚 a lot of music to enjoy, from the Davies family鈥檚 militant Dead End Street to a poignant a capella rendition of Days, via a rafter-shaking You Really Got Me, the plaintive pairing of Sitting In My Hotel and I Go to Sleep, and the sing-along Lola finale.

Sunny Afternoon tells the story of The Kinks

And despite the rows, the violence, the bust ups, the law suits and the artistic differences, the foursome do find some kind of peace and redemption ?through the simple joy of making music.

In all honesty, it鈥檚 probably about 15 minutes too long, and some of the dialogue gets swallowed up by the cavernous Empire auditorium (maybe Dave the Rave should be let loose on the tech desk?!)

But it鈥檚 a fascinating journey, well told, with plenty of dry humour and of course, that back catalogue of timeless classics.