For a musical based on the origins of rock ‘n’ roll, Dreamboats and Petticoats at the Theatre Royal certainly had enough energy to take the whole audience back in time to the swinging 50s & 60s. If you take the lack of plot line with a pinch of salt and accept Dreamboats as simply an excuse to sing along to 60’s classics then it really is a great night out. If however you’re looking for a musical where the songs have any sort of relevance to the alleged plot, look elsewhere.

Simply an excuse to sing along to 60’s classics

Though the music is timeless, the show itself is not. With many puns and jokes depending on the audience’s prior knowledge of the era and music to work. Having said that, there were moments where great comedy did shine through and the audience could all get involved with the show.

Though the music is timeless, the show itself is not.

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Having the band on stage and an active part of the show was a stroke of genius. A band of 9 kept the entire musical moving with their constant playing of the catchy 60s swing. What I loved about the decision to do this was that the band became an integral part of the scene, constantly switching between playing, to acting, to even dancing whilst playing during the big chorus numbers.

A band of 9 kept the entire musical moving

However, it was obvious that some of the band were first and foremost musicians and not dancers. The choreography, though very well done and in keeping with the era, was at times over-acted and seemed too staged for the care-free attitude that was trying to be portrayed by the songs.

The choreography was at times over-acted and seemed too staged

Hannah Boyce was very convincing in her role as Laura, keeping up the character of a nauseatingly sweet girl trying to be older than her year’s. She played the part with gusto and her singing was lovely in the slower songs. My favourite character however was Donna, played by Laura Sillett, whose sarcasm and wit held some of the slower scenes together. I don’t know how, but she managed to keep the sarcasm of her character even when dancing to incredibly fast paced 60s swing.

The acting wasn’t all good though. The biggest disappointment for me was Matthew Colthart as Norman. His character was supposed to have charisma and charm but I just didn’t see this until the second half after he’d had chance to warm into the role. When he sang, it looked as though he was trying to remember his words which detracted from his overall performance.

The acapella songs were fantastic and really showcased the talent of the cast

There were some songs which were sung without any backing from the band. These acapella songs were fantastic and really showcased the talent of the cast. The timings were perfect and overall those scenes were some of the most effective in the whole musical.

One to watch when you want to hang your brain up at the end of the day.

I thoroughly enjoyed Dreamboats and Petticoats for what it was, a fun night out that you could take the whole family to see. Not a musical to change the world but definitely one to watch when you want to hang your brain up at the end of the day.

Emma Lawton

Star-Rating-3

For more information, visit the theatre Royal website here

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