West End smash Dreamboats and Petticoats has arrived at Milton Keynes Theatre - an unashamedly feel-good musical that looks set to be a hit with audiences of all generations based on last night's show, writes Chris Gregg.
It was great to see kids, parents and grandparents enjoying live theatre and by the end of the show everyone was on their feet, even if some members of the audience seemed to be playing musical statues.
Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who penned TV classics Birds of a Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart and The New Statesman, Dreamboats and Petticoats was inspired by a series of compilation albums of the same name which sold over 3,500,000 copies, demonstrating loud and clear that there's an appetite for rock'n'roll nostalgia.
This is a show which is all about the music. Every song is a familiar, sing-along favourite and the cast perform all the songs live on stage, picking up guitars, saxophones and trombones and dancing around as they sing. It must come close to holding the World Record for the most hit songs in one musical - I counted 45 different songs, although admittedly some are just sung for a few seconds.
Expect classic hits from the likes of Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran and Billy Fury with hits including Let’s Dance, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Shaking All Over, Bobby’s Girl, Little Town Flirt, Only Sixteen, Runaround Sue, Happy Birthday Sweet 16, Let It Be Me, Great Pretender, C’mon Everybody and Let’s Twist Again.
At times, the plot seems to be constructed purely to crowbar in as many hits as possible, but by the end, you do find yourself drawn into this tale of teenagers in love and leave the theatre with a song firmly stuck in your head.
Set in 1961, the show tells the story of young musician Bobby (played by Alistair Higgins) as he competes to win a national song writing competition with the suave and confident Norman (a brilliantly cocky performance from Alastair Hill) and at the same time, compete for the attention of blonde bombshell Sue (Laura Darton).
But will Bobby notice that all the time, shy Laura (convincingly portrayed by Elizabeth Carter) has been smitten with him?
This is a production which has captured the idyllic, halcyon days of the 60s of people's memories. At times, it is a little saccharine, but if you can suspend your cynicism and enjoy the innocent charm, you'll have a great night.
And if not, you can just play at trying to guess what the next song will be from the dialogue.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Dreamboats and Petticoats is at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 8th July.
To book your tickets click here
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