Set in 1961, Dreamboats and Petticoats is a jukebox musical of no less than 46 hits from this bygone era. The plot is thin, if there at all. Set around a youth club, the musical tells the story of Bobby fighting for the affection of Sue and his rock and roll dream; alongside of this, his best friend’s piano playing younger sister Laura has fallen for him, and as the musical progresses, he begins to notice her too.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is unashamed nostalgia of an era with which I’ve little affinity; most of the audience that were present were teenagers themselves in the early ‘60s, so singing along with songs and dancing in the aisles is not unsurprising. Not only the music, but the dialogue is equally nostalgic with jokes about the first Coronation Street (“It’ll never last”) and Lennon and Macartney coming third in the song writing contest.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is what it is; nostalgia (to the point of nausea). All the music was performed live on stage from skilled musicians and an energetic cast with pitch perfect singing. The same cannot be said about the acting, with accents that were so exaggerated they were near inaudible.
Fortunately, Dreamboats and Petticoats was never intended to be a piece of lyrical, dramatic genius. Rather than a musical, this is best described as a concert performance. In all other aspects Dreamboats and Petticoats is lacking and for any other production this could be devastating. However, the lack of plot and dialogue just puts more focus on the music, which is essentially exactly what the audience have come to see (or hear).
If, like many of the audience present, you enjoy the music (or even better remember it first hand!) then you will definitely enjoy Dreamboats and Petticoats. If this is not the case, however you are most likely to find it a bit…well…naff.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is running 08 August 2011 – 13 August 2011 Box office: 0844 848 2706