Dreamboats and Petticoats is on the road for its third UK tour after a successful West End run, so it was with high expectations that I took my seat at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham. Boasting a cast with amazing talent, a stunning set and some world renowned songs of the 1950s and 60s, it certainly isn’t a show that disappoints!
It has to be admitted that the storyline is fairly basic; it centres around a group of musical British teenagers in the rock and roll era who enter a song writing contest. If you are looking for a deeply complicated and moving tale then this is not the show for you. However, the simplicity of the plot allowed for emphasis on the music and the tale of growing up and falling in love is one that is universally popular, which makes the show appeal to all ages.
As already mentioned, the cast were remarkable, particularly ‘Bobby’ (David Ribi) who gave a brilliant vocal performance as the male lead. The energy levels of the entire cast were also to be marveled at. They successfully managed not to take themselves too seriously, which meant that the cheesiness was part of the fun of the show. With smiles that rarely seemed to leave the actors faces and two hours of almost non-stop singing and dancing, it was a wonder how they kept it up. However it was exactly this enthusiasm and their talent that kept the atmosphere in the theatre electric; it was impossible not to smile and enjoy yourself.
It is unsurprising then that ‘Dreamboats and Petticoats’ was nominated for Best New Musical at the Laurence Olivier Awards in 2010, as this show reels its audience into the world of rock and roll in an instant. All the music was performed on stage; from the acoustic guitar to girls managing to dance whilst playing the saxophone. This brought a vigorous new life to the songs that were hits fifty years ago, such as “Shakin’ all over” (Johnny Kid and the Pirates) and “Let’s dance” (David Bowie). The catchiness and vibrant performance of the songs meant there was no isolation for the younger members of the audience. Although I couldn’t quite sing along to every song like some of the enthralled audience, it was still a night anyone could enjoy.
It is rare for such a new musical – Dreamboats was first performed in 2009 – to move the majority of its audience to their feet, but this show achieved that; a tribute to the talent of both the cast and the creators of ‘Dreamboats and Petticoats’. This musical is a chance to take in some light hearted entertainment and watch a gifted cast that will have you relaxed in no time. It’s only on until Saturday 22nd, so try to catch this show if you can! Don’t be put off by the old songs it features; if you love musical theatre, or if you are simply in need of a feel-good performance, you must see this show.
(Dreamboats and Petticoats is on at Nottingham Theatre Royal unitl Saturday 22nd October)