Review: Dreamboats and Petticoats, New Theatre

Dreamboats and Petticoats is the fifties and sixties inspired musical that features popular rock-and-roll hits and a whole lot of singing and dancing ensembles. It tells the story of teenager Bobby’s love of music, his partaking in a songwriting competition and his experience with love and relationships.

The set and design for the performance was incredible and very full on. The set and props stayed with the fifties-sixties theme with fly in sets that separated the stage, covered in relevant pop and rock-and-roll posters of the time. New Theatre has a perfect stage for slide out pieces, including a barber shop and Bobby’s bedroom. It was refreshing to see the cast removing props and wheeling away scene pieces as the performance ran on from scene to scene very smoothly. The bumper cars that were used in the fairground scene were also very impressive as was the platform for the band in the background. The band was at the back of the stage which was an effective part of the staging to easily go into the many musical numbers that the performance had. The acting was great and the accents were all seamless without any slips in or out of them. As everyone danced and sang, the actors on stage did an amazing job of juggling everything as there was no one person who did not have anything to do at one time – everyone had a part to play and it was amazing to see them all interact with each other so well. The comedy in the performance was brilliant, with lots of historical jokes that us today already know the outcome to. The slow motion in the boxing fight scene was especially hilarious.

The music was extremely well played, with all the singing and instruments played live by the actors on stage. The drummer, pianist and guitarists held a lot of stage presence, not just for their flawless playing but also for their dancing and the electric guitar solos were extremely impressive. The a capella songs in the performance were done extremely well and really emphasised the talent of the cast. The saxophone players were probably the highlight of the performance as they were a great addition to the songs and played incredibly alongside all the singing and dancing that they were also doing!

All the characters in the performance had strong powerful voices. Although Bobby and Laura were the main parts, I felt that the supporting characters had the strongest voices and could at times outshine the two main leads due to their vocal ability. Most noticeably Donna (played by Gracie Johnson) and Sue’s (played by Laura Darton) duet of Sweet Nothin’s was very powerful, Norman (played by Alastair Hill) had incredible solos and portrayed the bad boy very well but the star for me was Ray (played by David Luke) who not only had an incredible vocal range but was also one of the funniest characters. Overall, it was an enjoyable performance from such a tight strong cast. Definitely a great show to take your family to for some nostalgia and laughs.

Beth Girdler- Maslen