MUCH of the later work of The Beatles and George Martin lends itself perfectly to orchestration – and so it proved the case with the sell-out performance of The Two Of Us: The Lennon & McCartney Songbook.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, let off the leash under the baton of star Irish conductor David Brophy, combines with Mark McGann, who stars as Lennon, Joe Stilgoe as McCartney and singer Claire Martin.

The Two Of Us tells the chronological story of the world’s greatest songwriters from their first meeting at a fete in 1957 to their acrimonious break-up thirteen years later, albeit with the flimsiest of detail.

However, the original score by composer Andrew Cottee rambles across Lennon and McCartney’s oeuvre with aplomb, cherry-picking the most appropriate tunes.

A short overture brings the actors on stage and leads straight into the title track, 1969’s Two Of Us, which pretty much sums up their latter relationship, and offers the violins the opportunity to strum like guitarists.

In My Life, Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever follow, with McGann and Stilgoe offering good interplay fully in character between songs. Both are dressed in black with the only concession to costume being McGann’s round glasses.

Stilgoe is the better, purer, singer (he has nine acclaimed albums behind him) but you don’t really hear McCartney in his voice, while McGann somehow seems more ‘Lennony’ while singing.

Martin, the veteran jazz vocalist and BBC broadcaster, adds a little light and shade, acts as narrator and takes lead vocals on the likes of Ticket To Ride, Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby and Fool On The Hill.

The first act ends with a rousing All You Need Is Love, the song composed especially for the 1967 live global broadcast event Our World. It showcased the orchestra at its finest, offered the trumpeter his moment in the spotlight and finished with the violins parading off, still playing.

Act 2 catalogued the latter years, with McGann now in a white suit and Stilgoe donning a waistcoat, kicking off with a medley of Getting Better, She’s Leaving Home and With A Little Help From My Friends.

McGann took the lead on Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, highlighting the work of the timpani, arranged prominently stage left, while Stilgoe, often at the piano, covered The Long And Winding Road before a super loud version of I’ve Got A Feeling.

The sadness and rancour of the break-up was suitably represented by You Never Give Me Your Money, God and Carry That Weight/The End, but you can’t end a show on such a downer, so the clock was wound back a little to 1968 for an audience singalong of Hey Jude.

However, the highlight was undoubtedly A Day In The Life, that epic of a song from Sgt Pepper which had the virtual kitchen sink thrown at it back in 1967, including a 40-piece orchestra.

Tonight there were many more players involved as McGann sang lead vocals, the music building, building, building to the most famous final chord in popular music history, which alone was worth the ticket price.