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  • Review by john Murray

Dreamboats and Petticoats

I must admit this is my guilty pleasure and I have been looking forward to seeing this long running touring show. Of course I have seen it before, its ten years (and 4 million sales) since the first Dreamboats And Petticoats CD and Bill Kenwright’s production still packs them in. From the opening voice over from Tony Blackburn we immediately were back in the Baby Boomer era.

In terms of feel good longevity in the UK this is our Grease the musical. For this was post-War pre-Beatles Britain and what Cliff Richard captured in Simpkins Youth Club for The Young Ones, Bobby, Ray, Laura, Sue & Donna confirm in Dreamboats And Petticoats. As the depression lifted we turned to American music like the Everlys, Roy Orbison, Bobby Vee and a young hunk named Elvis. Sure we still had Cliff and the Shadows but even the British hits of Marty Wilde and Craig Douglas were American covers.

On here the actors become the live stage musicians and this adds a theatrical element to the magic. The characters are easily identifiable and can dance too – the big production numbers like At The Hop and Do You Wanna Dance are choreographed to perfection and all these hit songs sound like they were written perfectly for the plot. Using 3 male vocalists for example ensures Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen (to Laura) was customised to the show.

Moments of genius are observed further when Laura (played by Elizabeth Carter) sings Who’s Sorry Now to the same tune and concurrently with Bobby (played brilliantly by Alistair Higgins) who sings a slowed down (Del Shannon’s) Runaway. Colourful and packed with hits, indulge and enjoy.

Edinburgh Playhouse until May 13

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