This one really does have you dancing in the aisles
Like a good wine Dreamboats and Petticoats is a musical that just improves with age.
Celebrating ten glorious years, this grand old lady of the pop music inspired musicals has undergone a nip and a tuck here and there making it a pacey, seamless and vibrant production. There’s no lengthy reprises or encores and the dialogue is snappy and to the point without it losing any of its 60’s humour feel.
Written around a compilation of songs from early 60’s hits, Dreamboats and Petticoats is a night of pure nostalgia that explodes onto the stage catapulting its audience back to that heady era.
Although the plot is predictable its skilfully built around over 40 of the hottest hits of the time ranging from Let’s Dance, Dream Lover and Only Sixteen to Donna, Teenager in Love and The Great Pretender. Set in St Mungo’s Youth Club we see teenagers fall in and out of love, hit the heights of sophistication with an international grill and American milkshake at the Wimpey Bar and explore their sexual urges with a snog in the tunnel of love, which was as far as any nice girl would go in those days.
Bob Tomson’s production is nostalgically creative and a great piece of vintage theatre that glides seamlessly from one scene to the next, whilst Carole Todd’s energy fuelled choreography is fast and furious and stylish.
The story revolves around Bobby, who suffers with acne and is smitten with the brazen, busty Sue. However, thankfully for the plot, Sue has no time for him and has eyes only for the egotistical Norman. In between all this we meet the brace-wearing, NHS bi-spectacled girl with plaits, Laura, whose only wish is to be Bobby’s Girl. And as with most musicals she gets her wish granted when she and Bobby win a national youth song writing contest and we hope live happily ever after!
As Laura, Elizabeth Carter has created a gauche, touching character which is a joy to watch. Alistair Higgins’s naïve Bobby also has the right measure of innocence about it and both he and Carter bring to life the complexities of growing up in that era.
Laura Darton’s Sue is feisty and fun whilst Alastair Hill’s Norman is brash, smug and self-opinionated I almost wanted to punch him myself rather than leaving it to Bobby.
However the night belongs to the multi-talented high energy ensemble who play instruments, sing and dance their way through over 40 numbers, including several show stopping a cappella versions that are superb.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is a show for everyone! It provides a wonderful opportunity for nostalgic reminiscences for those who were children of the sixties whilst for the younger generation it’s a great opportunity for them to see what they missed in the pop music world of that era.
But whatever your age Dreamboats and Petticoats has a wonderful feel good factor to it and its guaranteed to have you dancing in the aisles and singing those golden oldies for the rest of the week and beyond.
Don’t miss out the show runs until 15 July
Liz Coggins is a member of the Critics Circle