The musical itself started life as a bestselling CD, which not only spurned a follow up CD but a musical, that has toured, as well as played in London’s West End, for some considerable time. The secret is the show rises above the influx of other juke-box musicals which just cobble together the hits of a performer, or era. The quality of the musical and its performers, allows Dreamboats and Petticoats to be compared to, the original version of the monster hit, Buddy.
Director, Bob Tomson and Choreographer, Carole Todd, allow the Laurence Marks and Maurice Grans book to come alive, as the story weaves it way around so many classic hits. At times you can see the songs being signalled a mile off, but the quality of the singing and dancing allow you to forgive anything.
The story, as it is, starts with Bobby finding his guitar in the loft and as he tells his granddaughter about how he received it ,as a present from his parents ,we are transported back to meet the young Bobby (Josh Capper). At the time we meet him our "hero" was auditioning as lead singer in a band, but after getting the job, Norman (Jonathan Bremner) arrives and takes his place, not only in the band, but with the women as well.
The rest of the story revolves around a song writing competition and which guy would win the girl. Although we always know by the end of the night our hero will conquer all. With the show being set at the start of the sixties at times I even felt there were similarities to Grease, which is set just a few years before, with Sue (Carolynne Good) being our Rizzo and Laura (Daniella Bowen) Sandy.
The set by Sean Cavanagh is simple, but effective and allows the action to switch easily between different venues without having to wait for set changes.
The musical score is littered with hits, including "Only Sixteen", "Lets Twist Again", "At The Hop", "It’s Only Make Believe", "Sweet Sixteen" and "To Know Him Is To Love Him". However, regardless of when the show is set, it appeals to all ages.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is a feel good show, packed with enough hits of yesterday to keep anyone happy and should be with us for a long time to come.