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Dreamboats and Petticoats (Manchester)

Helen Jones finds ''Dreamboats and Petticoats'' has worn well as one of the better jukebox musicals

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Dreamboats and Petticoats

Dreamboats and Petticoats is one of the better jukebox musicals around. Set primarily in the early sixties, it takes the music of the era and uses it to good effect. The show opens with the older Bobby and his granddaughter looking for his old electric guitar, which leads into the reminisences of when he was 17 and going to St Mungo's Youth Club. What follows is a rather traditional plot of unrequited love which eventually turns out well.

Bobby wants to be a rockstar, but instead is still at school and doing his A levels, even though most of his friends have already left school and are working. Having failed to become the lead singer for a band, losing out to the leather-clad Norman, he turns to songwriting with his best friend Ray's younger sister, Laura. However his heart really isn't in it as he is smitten with Sue, who, unfortunately for Bobby, has her sights set on Norman.

Greg Fossard is an engaging Bobby, conveying the awkwardness of a teenage boy while being able to belt out songs with great style. He is beautifully matched by Hannah Boyce as the fifteen year old Laura, a skilled songwriter who is in love with Bobby. She carries her songs well and is convincing as the gawky teenager who blossoms. They are superbly supported by a cast which work hard and combine acting, singing and playing musical instruments with ease.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran have written a script which doesn't take itself too seriously while providing great entertainment, but it is the hard work of the predominantly young cast that bring this musical to life and and make it an evening worth watching.

Dreamboats and Petticoats is at the Palace Theatre until 8 February.

- Helen Jones