Entertainment, Lifestyle, Manchester, Review

Review: Dreamboats and Petticoats at Manchester’s Palace Theatre

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By Jessica Leed

Dreamboats and Petticoats, the jukebox musical set in the 60s and featuring back-to-back songs from the rock ‘n’ roll era, quickly proved that anybody can enjoy this show. Whether you are old enough to remember the era or if you just want a glimpse of the cool 60s upbeat melodies, this feel-good musical is for everyone.

The show begins in 1961 with the young and talented Bobby auditioning at the local Youth Club for a band. He almost gets the part until vain and cocky Norman sweeps in to steal his spot. Although the story narrative of the show is weak, it is justified by the live music and singing which never missed a key throughout the entire performance. The catalogue of hits included ‘A Teenager In Love’, ‘Johnny Remember Me’ and ‘Only Sixteen’, to name a few.

The story continues with Norman demanding attention, cool girl Sue, who has a crush on Norman, using Bobby to make him jealous and Laura, who has a crush on Bobby, being let down when she finds out he has a crush on Sue. Essentially, a typical boy-meets-girl story line for a performance based around teenagers that hang out at a Youth Club.

Although, for the younger members of the audience, there might only be a small chance of knowing all the songs performed, what this musical does contain are some hits that got all of the audience singing, such as the popular ‘(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock’ by Bill Haley & His Comets. The show also successfully manages to base a performance that is inspired completely by the music, rather than basing the music around a storyline, much like other musicals in theatres such as Oliver! or Grease.

After the realisation that this show is completely all about the music and that the storyline and character development take a back seat, the audience is able to either enjoy or re-live the 60s era music played throughout the entire two hours and 20 minutes. Perhaps this was intentional when Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran wrote the show.

Towards the end of the performance, at Laura’s Sweet Sixteenth birthday, the cast manage to get the audience up to dance to a multiple of songs including ‘Let’s Twist Again’, which again confirms that this show can be enjoyed by all ages, the entire audience on their feet.

Dreamboats and Petticoats isn’t bad, but nor is it very good. If a musical trip down memory lane is what you are after, then it is worth a watch but this performance isn’t going to break box office records and that showed in the 200 people that showed up to a theatre of a 1,955 capacity on Wednesday evening.

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