Dreamboats and Miniskirts

Nov 5 2014 | By More

★★★☆   Rose-tinted pop

King’s Theatre: Mon 3 – Sat 8 Nov. 2014

Nostalgia curls around this slick, frothily up-tempo jaunt back to the early 60s, which has lit up at the King’s for a week of bright lights and sparkling vocals.

Elizabeth Carter as Laura. Photo: Darren Bell

Elizabeth Carter as Laura. Photo: Darren Bell

It’s late 1962 and life has moved on for the sweetly singing young things whose amorous adventures made a better than average plot for jukebox musical hit, the 1961-set Dreamboats and Petticoats.

Time then, to put a penny in the old Wurlitzer jukebox and choose a clutch of hot 45s to spin those romances on a few more notches. And to the credit of writing duo Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the result starts out as both a musical and a romantic journey.

On the romantic side, Bobby and Laura don’t hang out in the local youth club any more. Their title single from Dreamboats and Petticoats might have hit number one, but their singing partnership is stuck in a groove. And far from getting it on, they can’t even declare their love to each other.

Stay, sings Elizabeth Carter’s Laura, when Bobby opts to go home rather than spend the night in a hotel. She’s clearly the one who wears the song-writing trousers in the duo. Don’t Hang Up replies Alex Beaumont’s swithering, ineffectual Bobby, when Laura won’t talk after the ensuing fall out.

they’re putting the band back together

It looks like the duo will not be lasting long – and soon Bobby is back at the youth club with Ray: his pal, Laura’s big brother, and the manger of The Conquests, the band he used to sing in. And before you can say “Blues Brothers”, they’re putting the band back together.

The Conquests. Photo: Darren Bell

The Conquests. Photo: Darren Bell

Which is the cue for the plot to take off musically. The Conquests get a gig in Liverpool and discover the hard-dancing sound of Mersey Beat. Their somewhat anodyne rendition of Venus in Blue Jeans, is blown away by the hard-driving sound of Twist and Shout given full pelvic thrust.

As the Conquests discover big moving bass lines there’s a glimpse of the music scene of the day – when musical innovation came on acetate discs, the latest sounds from America were to be found imported by sailors down at the docks, and cover versions were the way forward as the music evolved into a teen movement.

Yet, for all that the Conquests are cutting up the stylistic rug, with clean-cut Bobby vying with Ross William Wild’s attitude-driven Norman for the role of vocalist, it is Ray’s girlfriend Donna who gets all the best songs. And Anna Campkin as Donna makes the most of them.

While Ray’s busy setting trends in hairstyling, she is left at home bemoaning her fate with a succession of spurned-lover bubble-gum pop, from a sarcastic Hello Stranger to a heartfelt I Only Want To Be With You.

The songs keep on coming in Act 2, although the previously clear, clean strokes of Marks and Gran’s tight script become lost in the romantic entanglements.

Still, the on-stage band keep it right up there, with Chris Coxon proving a powerhouse on bass and a fabulous horn section of Chloe Edwards-Wood on tenor sax, Charlotte Peak on Bass sax and Josef Pitura-Riley on trumpet.

The integration of band with actors works well, too. Particularly in a nicely judged sequence in Ray’s hairdressing salon. The costumes look the part and if the set is as perfunctory as the script, that is because it is the songs which count.

A fun night out, but as it builds past a climactic and nicely edgy version of Hippy Hippy Shake, to send the audience out into the night with a winsome When You’re Young and in Love, that tang of rose-tinted nostalgia sweeps back in.

Running time 2 hours and 30 minutes including interval
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ
Monday 3 – Saturday 8 November 2014
Evenings 7:30pm; Matinees Wed and Sat 2:30pm
Tickets from http://www.edtheatres.com/dreamboats

Æ’s review of Dreamboats and Petticoats is here: www.alledinburghtheatre.com

For even more rose-tinted nostalgia, a CD is available to puchase. Click on the image below to find out more at Amazon

Dreamboats and Miniskirts on tour:
3-8 Nov Edinburgh
Kings Theatre
0131 529 6000 Book online
10-15 Nov Coventry
Belgrade Theatre
024 7655 3055 Book online
17-22 Nov Cardiff
New Theatre
029 2087 8889 Book online
Tour continues in 2015:
5-10 Jan 2015 Dartford
Orchard Theatre
01322 220000 Book online
12-17 Jan 2015 Chesterfield
Winding Wheel
01246 345 333 Book online
20-24 Jan 2015 Newcastle
Theatre Royal
08448 11 21 21 Book online
26-31 Jan 2015 Northampton
Royal & Derngate
01604 624811 Book online
2-7 Feb 2015 Hastings
White Rock Theatre
01424 462280 Book online
9-14 Feb 2015 Bridlington
The Spa
01262 678258 Book online
16-21 Feb 2015 Truro
Hall for Cornwall
01872 262466 Book online
23 – 28 Feb 2015 Swindon
Swindon Theatre
01793 524 481 Book online
2-7 Mar 2015 Hull
New Hull Theatre
01482 300 300 Book online
9-14 Mar 2015 Aylesbury
Waterside Theatre
0844 871 7607 Book online
16-21 Mar 2015 Windsor
Theatre Royal
01753 853888 Book online
23-28 Mar 2015 Rhyl
New Pavilion Theatre
01745 33 00 00 Book online
30 Mar-4 Apr 2015 Lowestoft
Marina Theatre
01502 533 200 Book online
7 -11 Apr 2015 Crawley
The Hawth Theatre
01293 553 636 Book online
13 -18 Apr 2015 Croydon
Ashcroft Theatre
020 8688 9291 Book online
20 -25 Apr 2015 Manchester
Palace Theatre
0844 871 7615 Book online
27 Apr-2 May 2015 Halifax
Victoria Theatre
01422 351 158 Book online
11-16 May 2015 Skegness
The Embassy Theatre
0845 674 0505 Book online
13-18 Jul 2015 Leeds
The Grand Theatre
0844 848 2700 Book online


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