Each time another big name musical hits the Theatre Royal I wonder if it could possibly top the last and it seems every time the performance gets better, the audience more enthralled and the stage set more imaginative.
Sitting within the stalls for this show (my new favourite seat by the way – you feel right in the thick of it!), I spent the entire performance of the 1950s inspired Dreamboats and Petticoats toe tapping, giggling, clapping and wishing I could transport myself back to that era. Perhaps I’m bias because I love vintage fashion, pin up curls and pretty circle skirts – plus I love the Danny Zuko swagger!
Of course the show displayed a few jokes here and there that I simply didn’t understand and dropped a few names I hadn’t heard of…but the audience surrounding me took themselves back to the 50s and swinging 60s where this all started.
The story starts with Bobby (the lead male) telling his granddaughter about when he was young. This part was played by Roger Martin, as well as him playing Bobby’s Dad, and the expression on his face said it all; he really was like a jolly grandfather/dad with a ‘down with the kids’ vibe. And no spring chicken, I was impressed by his moves – if not a little embarrassed by the pelvic thrusting during ‘Hey Baby’!
Saxophonist Chloe Edwards-Wood, who played Daisy and Brenda, had me inspired from the word go. Such an amazing ability to dance around the stage playing a saxophone one minute and then performing a faultless dance number the next – she’s obviously from a musical theatre background and has bags of talent! The music was played live on stage by the cast, with a notable addition being the acoustic guitarist, Will Tierney.
My favourite numbers of the night were Dream Baby Dream with Laura, played by Hannah Boyce – that girl is SERIOUSLY talented. She perfectly depicted the awkward, geeky schoolgirl with a crush. Her voice was both classical and pop…the whispers I heard in the crowd about Laura were forever “wow” and “amazing”. We have to mention Bobby of course, a funny schoolboy with dreams of being a rock star. Bobby was played by Greg Fossard, who was excellent despite his singing being a little drowned out by the instrumentals.
There were plenty of love affairs, risqué behaviour from teenagers, brawls between the boys and awkward first dates. Each and every one of us could relate to the story…I just wish my story had swinging beats, lindy hops and jives too.
Will Finlason, who played Ray, was the star of the show for me. His rendition of Donna (a little coincidental?) was brilliant, mainly because I didn’t imagine he’d have such a good voice. And with the best Essex accent on stage throughout the show, alongside handsome good looks (swoon), he definitely deserves a mention.
A show for an older generation, but also if you love the 50s! Bright colours, live music, dancing on your feet and the perfect length in time. I would highly recommend Dreamboats and Petticoats.