Dreamboats and Petticoats
The New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
Swotty school girl Laura can’t compete with sex bombshell Sue for song writing mate Bobby’s love, but will Bobby realise where true love lies before cool kid Norman steals Laura’s heart?
We all know the answer but it’s a good excuse for two hours plus of classic rock ‘n’ roll tunes. On the way there are plenty of jokes, accomplished acapella harmonies, shoulder shakes and quiffs.
All the music is played and sung live on stage and the band are fantastic, creating the soundtrack for Laura and Bobby’s story as well as, to the enjoyment of many audience members sat near us, essentially playing a 2hour rock ‘n’ roll set.
All the performers effortlessly merged their characters with their skill as musicians and we were particularly impressed by the rock ‘n’ roll female saxophonists, Brenda (Chloe Edwards-Wood) and Babs (Lauren Chinery) who looked and sounded great.
I also enjoyed Donna’s (Gracie Johnson) quick wit, I hadn’t expected the show to be so funny, and alongside Bobby’s best friend and Laura’s big brother Ray (David Luke), the two provided the humour to counter the teenage angst whilst enjoying their own teen love story.
Particular mention should be made of the cast member who played the roles of Frank/Slugger/Compere (Mike Lloyd) who brought humour to each part either as the butt of the teenage jokes or as the end of the pier boxer culminating in one of the memorable set pieces which saw Norman (Alastair Hill) and Bobby slug it out in slow motion.
Laura (Elizabeth Carter) however was the standout performer for me. Not her first time in the role of Laura (appearing also in the 2012 UK tour), she was believable from swotty school girl to sweet sixteen both innocent and wise beyond her character’s years giving an amazing vocal performance throughout.
A rousing finale of classic hits had the audience twisting in the aisles and cheering for more. There are not many surprises in Dreamboats and Petticoats but if you like rock and roll don’t miss it!
Dreamboats and Petticoats is at the New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham until 6 May.
Helen Annetts and Liz Victor