West End musicals have spawned from many things over the years – novels, old movies, children’s stories, modern blockbusters, even ABBA songs. But Dreamboats and Petticoats takes theatre in a new direction, by turning a compilation CD of music from the 50’s and 60’s into a full-blown musical.
A simple story complimented by a classic rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack and a group of professional actors – you couldn’t get a much more perfect mixture for a musical on the stage.
The script to Dreamboats and Petticoats is a love-soaked teenage romance. The coming of age story of every young girls dreams (well, perhaps not so much in modern times) it follows heartthrobs Bobby and Norman as they compete for the affections and attention of sex-goddess Sue (ex-Hollyoaks star Jennifer Biddall), but as shy schoolgirl Laura (Daisy Wood Davis) comes of age she suddenly manages to get Bobby’s attention and in the end, his heart. A predictable, yet heart-warming story supported by a wonderful cast and a classic track listing.
Playing on the success of the smash-hit compilation album(s), Dreamboats and Petticoats easily appeals to all those who grew up in that era, a time when things were simpler and pop songs were all about love. The non-stop hits keep coming, with 44 chart-toppers from the rock ‘n’ roll era.
The premise of the story is simple enough – the gang are involved in a song writing competition, the delivery of which appeals to the modern audience’s obsession with The X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent style shows. Oddly, Dreamboats and Petticoats is set in Essex at St Mungo’s Youth Club and not in a US setting, which brings the story closer to home.
It’s a clear testament to the skill of writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the producers Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield and the rest of the cast and crew that over a million people have been to see the production since its original release. A number of compilation CDs by the same name have appeared since.
The entire cast work well as an ensemble and bounce through the various scenes and well-designed sets with believable enthusiasm that can be appreciated and admired. There are some obvious rising stars among the cast Daisy Wood-Davis who plays Laura makes a huge impression and has a wonderful voice. Ben Freeman does a wonderful job of playing an egomaniac heart-throb Norman, but we’re all happy when Bobby finally gets his girl.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is a lively production, with a heart-warming (if simple) story and a foot-tapping soundtrack that will leave you with a smile on your face. With classic tracks from the likes of Del Shannon, Roy Orbison, Phil Spector, Eddie Cochran, Helen Shapiro – you’ll certainly have a rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ time. The audience will literally be dancing in the aisles.
For Dreamboats and Petticoats tickets with up to 50% saving – visit the UK’s best comparison website for theatre tickets. For more information on the show, see the official website.