What could be better than visiting the theatre, enjoying every minute, singing and dancing and leaving with a smile on your face? Not a lot in my opinion. Dreamboats and Petticoats made me and the majority of the audience do just that on the opening night in Glasgow.
Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (creators of TV’s Birds of a Feather and Goodnight Sweetheart) and produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield, it is inspired by the hit CD compilations of the same name.
Set in Essex in 1961 the story focuses on the key members of St Mungo’s Youth Club and how they get by in the age of innocence when distracted by members of the opposite sex and great music. Being in my early 20s, the idea of going to see a musical set when my parents were toddlers does not appeal. However, as soon as the opening song kicks in – ‘Lets Dance’ by Chris Montez – the fact it is from the sixties has no impact. The show is uplifting, upbeat and enjoyable from start to finish.
There is no orchestra: all the music is played and sung live on stage by a predominantly fresh-out-of-stage-school cast. The three lead girls, Laura (Daniella Bowen), Sue (Carolynne Good) and Donna (Clare Ivory) possess strong vocals. However the males are less impressive. Josh Capper as Bobby is underwhelming if energetic, struggling to hit a couple of high notes. X Factor 2006 finalist Jonathan Bremner (does anyone remember him?) has the look but not the voice to play Norman. Gareth Leighton who played Ray is the strongest male singer, yet has the least solos.
Regardless, the audience forgive a few blips in the vocals and sing along to songs including ‘Great Pretender’, ‘Bobby’s Girl’, ‘Let’s Twist Again’ and ‘Teenager in Love’, until by the end they are on their feet, dancing at their seats or in the aisles.
Some clever references to famous figures and moments in history coupled with the naïve innocence of the characters has the audience laughing out loud. The biggest laugh comes when Bobby accidentally pushes Sue out of the window and deadpan turns to the audience singing a line from Roy Orbison’s ‘Only the Lonely’ – “There goes my baby, there goes my heart” - before continuing with the rest of the song.
Old or young, for a great night out you can’t go wrong with Dreamboats and Petticoats.