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Dreamboats and Petticoats

Published by: Kate Braxton on 16th Aug 2017 | View all blogs by Kate Braxton

Dreamboats and Petticoats at Theatre Royal Windsor

by Kate Braxton

Some shows could keep returning to Theatre Royal Windsor like a ferris wheel carriage, because they are rounded, neatly engineered crowd-pleasers - and this is one of those safe, heart-warming experiences. 

As the name suggests, Dreamboats and Petticoats is a feel-good showcase for rock ‘n’ roll, which we experience through the activities of St Mungo’s Youth Club. Set in 1961, ‘somewhere in Essex’, the spotlight is given to the daily lives, loves and acne of a group of music-loving youngsters as the storyline develops around a song-writing competition. 

Bobby dreams of fame, Fenders and fantasises about the slightly more mature ‘Runaround Sue’. ‘Sweet 16’ Laura is the bespectacled younger sister of Ray, who can write a good tune and wants to be ‘Bobby’s Girl’. Ray goes with Donna, who runs around with Sue, who shakes her stuff at Norman, The Great Pretender, who can’t see past his own quiff. Together, they twist and shake their way through developing relationships, and begin to discover what really makes their hearts sing through a terrific musical celebration of over 40 hit numbers from the 50’s and 60’s. Dreamboats and Petticoats is a show of hope and promise.

This talented cast of actor-musicians, many of whom double up in acting roles and band duties deliver the full show live from the stage. They are superbly tightly rehearsed and the production really doesn’t hang around at any point. 

Alister Higgins plays the love-struck, star-struck, spotified Bobby as if he identifies with ease. His voice comes into its own in the dreamy, love songs, although it would have been nice to see a bit more expression in his overall performance. In a permanent daze in his wake, Elizabeth Carter’s Laura is a joy to watch. She has a beautiful voice and from behind her piano, specs or insightful throwaway line, her performance commands the stage whenever she’s on it.

Both Laura Dartan as Sue and Gracie Jones as Donna are both hugely watchable and terrific vocalists. Their sounds are so well-matched, there are times when they almost make one instrument of their voices.

Norman is almost like the baddie at the panto, and Alister Hill is very comfortable at being funny, while musically, his handling of falsetto is standout. David Luke gives us a thoroughly likeable and less assuming, Ray, whilst the highly experienced Jimmy Johnson’s casting in the lynchpin narrational role of Older Bobby is inspired. At times I could’ve sworn Carry On’s Peter Butterworth was in the house.

Especial credit for the ulti-multi-task must go to the beautiful Chloe Edwards Wood and Lauren Chinery for taking on the lively choreographed steps while steadily holding their tenor and alto/baritone sax lines, but also Mike Lloyd for bringing Mike Lloyd to Frank/Slugger/Compere/Trombone. Lovely bit of talent.

To deliver this quantity of material in a couple of hours is great theatre creation. A bit of ‘Poetry in Motion’, the show is nostalgic for the oldies, educational and insightful for the younger crowd. So come on everybody, do you wanna dance? If so, that’s good timin’.

 

Dreamboats and Petticoats runs at Theatre Royal Windsor from

Mon 14th Aug - Sat 19th Aug

  • Show Times
  • Mon - Sat 8pm, Thu 2.30pm, Sat 4.45pm
  • Ticket prices
  • £16 - £32

For info: www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

Box Office: 01753 853 888

 

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