Foot-tappin' tale of Teenagers in Love

Dreamboats and Petticoats

Malvern Festival Theatre

****

HAVING recently reviewed three of the more traditional plays at the Malvern Festival Theatre, it was a welcome pleasure to witness this marvellous upbeat, vibrant and altogether spectacular performance, Dreamboats and Petticoats.  

A musical inspired purely from the bestselling album of the ultimate rock and roll party numbers. Written in 2008 by Laurence Marks and Mark Grain, these two experienced writers were clearly motivated by the freshness and innocence of the music and the era.

The story is traditional -  boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, is jilted by girl, is inevitably heartbroken, but do not despair - it's not for too long as soon he falls for another girl and so the story goes on…with a few added twists.  

It's adorable if not a little predictable but the story line is not what we are going for.  This is a marvellous  excuse for a good old fashioned visit down memory lane, where teenagers really did meet at local youth clubs, play table tennis, write songs, fall in love and bop (in that order so it seems!).  

The scenes are well crafted gently taking us back to the early 60s with a touch of nostalgia cleverly delivered by courtesy of music director Keith Strachan.

SHINING STAR

It would be hard pushed to single out one shining star from this hugely talented ensemble. Literally every member of the cast seems to have strong vocals, good acting skills and great dancing abilities and one would hope this could be a launch pad for some great careers ahead.  

However, I would like to mention David Ribi whose beautiful voice and fantastic enthusiasm were captivating as the lead boy Bobby.  Also a mention for the two saxophonist girls; Emily O'Keeffe and Francesca Loren, both displaying multi-talented singing, dancing, acting and playing skills – and often all at the same time. 

Set, costume and lighting were all things bright and beautiful, from fair ground to pier to dance hall and it was fun to see the live band on stage getting involved with the cast.  A neatly polished performance all round and credit is due to the director Bob Tomson. 

The people of Malvern absolutely loved it!   Starting off with a quiet humming to Only The Lonely, moving on to a gentle clapping to Only sixteen and by the time the band were leading up to a roaring finish with Lets Twist Again and At the Hop,  the entire audience were up and out of their seats, dancing in full swing.

The show finished with a flourish that sent us all out of the theatre rocking - so do get a ticket if you can, it will be a sell out for a certain generation I am sure. To 10-12-11

Johanna Brand 

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