Success rides in on a dodgem car

Dreamboats and Petticoats

Birmingham Hippodrome

****

BILL Kenwright has found the winning formula for producing first-class musical theatre and Dreamboats and Petticoats will not disappoint. 

The musical was born out of the success of the Dreamboats and Petticoats series of albums  and the script, written by skilled duo Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, is full of playful innuendo.

It is a story about growing up as a teenager in what was a more innocent era for grown-ups of a certain age.  Put this together with a collection of classic rock and pop songs, throw in a bit of nostalgia, some romantic trysts and you have a success on a plate.

Though the cast were very young they were strong, energetic and talented with amazing voices.  The dancing did just fall short of the choreography potential.  The audience thrilled to classic rock'n'roll numbers such as The Wanderer, Bobby's Girl, Sweet Nothin's , Poetry in Motion and Teenager in Love.

The story revolves around a group of teenage members of St Judes Youth club.  Bobby a spotty, swotty, 17 year old, has a talent for writing songs and is desperate to sing in a band.  He auditions but looses out to Norman (Jonathan Bremner), the older, narcissistic womaniser with great looks, great voice and questionable morals. 

They compete to win a national youth club song writing competition, and the attentions of the beautiful and saucy Sue (Carolynne Good).   Laura (Daniella Bowen) the school swot and Plain Jane, secretly in love with Bobby, is an accomplished musician and lyricist and the perfect foil for Bobby's musical talents.

TUNNEL OF LOVE

Things come to a head on a youth club trip to the seaside.  This scene is extremely well done; with dodgems and winged fairground boys in the Tunnel of Love.  The a cappella moments here are exceptional.   Laura and Bobby finally get together at her birthday party (Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen) and, yes you've guessed it, they go on to win the competition.

Josh Capper gave an excellent performance but didn't quite carry off the Orbison number ‘In Dreams'.  First-class performances were also delivered by Gareth Leighton in his first professional part playing Ray, Clare Ivory (Donna) and Tony Clegg as Phil and the Older Bobby.  A special mention must be made to the band.

The audience loosened up during the second act joining in with ‘It's My Party' and  by the end of the show most were standing, dancing and clapping.  The show closed to a standing ovation.

When you leave the theatre and people are still singing you know the show was a success. To 22-05-10 

Lynda Ford

 

And another golden oldie . . .

****

ROLL back the years to 1961and you can't fail to enjoy this high octane musical packed with some of the greatest hits from the rock 'n' roll era.

It may not be the most gripping story you will ever see, but the slim plot makes room for the cast to deliver a shedload of super songs like Bobby's Girl, Only Sixteen, Great Pretender, and Let's Twist Again.

There's love in the air, of course, with young Bobby and 15-year-old Laura hoping to win a song-writing competition, facing a little competition on all fronts from ladies' man Norman.

Josh Capper excels as Bobby and Daniella Bowen is impressive in the role of Laura who suddenly blossoms on her 16th birthday (Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen).

SEXY SUE

Both have fine voices, and there are splendid contributions from Jonathan Bremner as the cocky Norman and Carolynne Good, the sexy Sue.

Anthony Clegg strings things together nicely in the role of the older Bobby, reminiscing on his past, but this show is all about the music...a kaleidoscope of happy hits that ends with the entire audience on their feet dancing, swaying and clapping to C'mon Everybody and At the Hop.

Not forgetting the excellent band on stage.

Dreamboats and Petticoats, inspired by the megga-selling albums of that name, sails on to Saturday night

Paul Marston

http://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/ 

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