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Dreamboats & Petticoats

Dreamboats & Petticoats

SPECIAL OFFER - 15% off for students, under 25's and seniors & £5 per ticket for Groups of 6+ (Mon - Thu)

Bobby & Laura, Norman, Sue & the gang get back together for the follow-on musical inspired by the million selling albums.

Bringing On Back The Good Times features the original characters from Dreamboats and Petticoats and features the same wit, charm, and songs from the golden era of Rock’n’ Roll.

Inspired by the smash hit, multimillion selling Dreamboats and Petticoats albums, the Dreamboats’ musicals feature some of the greatest hit songs ever written and are guaranteed to have you reminiscing and singing out loud!

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Dreamboats & Petticoats ON TOUR

Our review on Dreamboats & Petticoats

Dreamboats & Petticoats - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Monday 14th March 2022 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating

A few days ago, I was asked if I could travel back in time, where would I go?  I said I would like to go to the sixties for the music and after what has just gone down in The Palace Theatre with Dreamboats and Petticoats tonight, I know I gave the right answer!  What a corker of a show! As it says on the front of the programme, Dreamboats & Petticoats is bringing on back the good times!”

Dreamcoats & Petticoats Bringing On Back The Good Times is the follow on musical inspired by the million selling albums.  It doesn’t matter if you haven’t seen the previous two musicals or indeed heard any of the albums, for the show stands on its own two feet.  The plot is (as I expected) a fairly straight forward simple narrative which follows the story of young couple Bobby and Laura.  Laura starts to see success in her music career just as Bobby finds himself held back by his own nerves.  As his band The Conquests are packing out audiences at their local youth club, Laura is appearing as a regular on The Mark and Bernie Wynter’s Show!  When Laura persuades her manager Larry to give The Conquests a summer season at Butlins, she is miles away performing with Frankie Howard in Torquay.  But love always finds a way and Bobby and Laura find themselves representing the UK in the Eurovision and winning!  (The UK getting anything other than nil poi in Eurovision reminds us that this is of course a fictional story!)  As Bobby, Laura and friends find true happiness, sixties music charts their story, taking us to a swinging sixties finale and providing us with a jewel of a jukebox musical.



I have to say, the script took me surprise and in the best way possible.  It was quick, witty, packed with one liners and had just the right amount of innuendo and smut to make you belly laugh without the risk of offense.  It is of course cheesy at times, but for me, that is part of its charm, and it makes full use of this knowledge, setting up cues for songs that are so beautifully obvious, it becomes a fun and quirky element of the show that allows the audience to be in on the joke.  Some of the gags may be old school but it’s a show set in the sixties so anything else would have felt out of place.  And I have to say their delivery by the cast was always sublime, such as when Sue was explaining to the Butlins Manager that Norman was her husband.  She tells Norman, “Norman, show him your ring,” to which he replies after a comedic pause, “I really don’t know him that well.”  The script is inundated with real life references such as Butlins (which is actually where the two writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran truly became friends), Frankie Howard, Mark and Bernie Wynters, the BBC, Eurovision and Kenneth Williams (but more on him later).  This gives the make-believe, feel-good fun some roots of realness and allows some breathing space for anyone who finds themselves allergic to cheesiness.   



The set is a homage to popular culture from the sixties, with floor to ceiling slats collaged in everything from Tony Tigers breakfast Ricicles, to the Carry On Films, to Johnny Kidd & The Pirates.  The band is set up at the back of the stage but equally move around throughout joining the cast.  Locations are changed by neon red signs announcing we are in Butlins, St. Mungo’s Youth Club, the BBC studios or a hotel in Torquay.  It is simple, effective and catchy, instantly setting the vibe and vigour.

It was obvious from the first song that this show was an instant hit with the audience, for everyone – including myself – immediately cast themselves in the role of back up singer, wobbling their heads, tapping their toes and curling their lips to “C’mon everybody.”   With hit after brilliant bopping hit peeling out, such as Lipstick On Your Collar, Happy Together, Save The Last Dance For Me, and You Don’t Own Me, it would have been some kind of impossible torture not to join in!  The number one in the hit parade for the first half (yes all these songs and we haven’t even reached the interval yet) was Blue Moon.  Now as many people know, in Manchester Blue Moon = Manchester City, so as a Red, when I heard that first “Bom-ba-ba-bom bu dang a dang dang” start up I thought of blocking it out with an internal “We’ll drink a drink a drink to Eric The King…”  But thank Ferguson I didn’t because it was by far the breakout moment of the first half.  Sung by the full cast, including all the musicians entirely a cappella, it was goosebump good, jaw dropping genius, and Tony The Tiger Terrrifffficccc!  Honestly, it was a moment to behold and quite rightfully received the ultimate round of applause.    



The second half whipped up even more sizzling sixties songs such as Pretty Woman, Take It Easy On Yourself, and a couple of my favourites – Mony Mony and To Sir With Love.  With every hit that came our way, the audience response got bigger and better and it became more and more difficult to stay seated and not just burst into a little bit of a twist or a mashed potato!  The second half, as brilliant as it was in its entirety, was defined by three elements, one of which stole the entire show.  First was the finale megamix – the perfect tribute to a trailblazing musical era.  Next was the Mark Wynter Medley - because yes!  It was THE Mark Wynter!! (As well as being a sixties pop star, he has also been in 38 play and 23 musicals including the lead role in Phantom).  In addition to playing himself, Wynter also played Larry – Laura’s Manager.  Not only was his voice as polished, lush and strong as ever, his energy was insane!  Bounding about the stage like a snippet of a kid, he was incredible.  Last but not least was the Eurovision section when David Benson (Goodnight Sweetheart playing Noel Coward, One Man Two Guvnors, Dad’s Army Radio Show) came out as the host Kenneth Williams!  Not only was it instantly recognisable who he was playing by his voice, movement and mannerisms, but he transcended Williams in the most incredible way, because let’s face it - Kenneth Williams was a one off.  Yet here he was on stage in front of us.  But it wasn’t just Benson’s uncanny impersonation that stole the show, it was his entire act.  He was offbeat, quirky, funny, and always one step ahead, just like Williams.  His song, filled with random French words and phrases was side splittingly daft and deliriously delicious.  It is no wonder to discover that Benson actually has a one-man Kenneth Williams show for he has certainly studied his muse, and of course – ‘ere, he’s not messing about.



The entire cast and musicians (which were one and the same) were fizzing with energy, ease and charm that it is no wonder this popular show played to a full theatre.  Elizabeth Carter (Rain Man UK Tour, Save The Last Dance For Me, The Wizard Of Oz) was so sweet and likeable as Laura and had a smile that lit up the entire theatre.  She was bubbly and brilliant with belting pipes.  David Ribi (Presenter on kids TV show Milkshake, Mamma Mia, Rocky Horror, Hairspray) is her perfect match as Bobby.  Again, he was sweet, shy and sang like an angel.  He took his character on a lovely journey and you couldn’t help but cheer him on.  Alastair Hill (Saturday Night Fever, Around The World In 80Days and he has now been in all three Dreamboats & Petticoats shows) is Norman.  Norm is on the charm offensive from the off, wooing the ladies with his rock n’ roll moves, forgetting he is married occasionally and realising his flaws before it is all too late.  Hill plays the part to perfection for he does it all with such a light heartedness, rather than making the character too heavy, ensuring an ideal fit for the feel of the show.  Lauren Anderson-Oakley (Follies, The Addams Family, Friday Night Is Music Night) is Sue, Normans wife.  She is sassy and strong, full of life and a powerful force on stage.  Samara Clarke (How To Succeed In Business, Les Mis) plays Donna and David Luke (all three Dreamboats & Petticoats shows, Peter Pan, and is backing vocalist and lead guitarist for Sir Cliff Richard) plays her other half Ray.  Together they are a strong partnership, apart they are entertaining and vivacious.  Luke’s style of humour is wonderful.  Mike Lloyd (This Is Elvis, Saturday Night Fever, Buddy, Jailhouse Rock) doubles as Frank and Percy.  He is agile, likeable and effortless.

Dreamboats and Petticoats has captured the free spirit of a feel-good decade, providing a night of escapism.  It made me nostalgic for a time I wasn’t even alive in and extremely lucky and grateful to have had an excellent musical education from my parents, with many a childhood car journey immersed in the sound of the sixties, guaranteeing I knew nearly every lyric to every song in tonight’s show.  What a gift I have been given!  So, thank you to my parents and thank you to all involved in Dreamboats and Petticoats for ensuring the music of their generation lives on!  

We score Dreamboats and Petticoats – 10/10



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