DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS: Book by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran
Runs: 2h 35, one interval
Review: Alexander Ray, 29 June 2011

Looking back has never been such fun.

What a hugely happy show this is. A young company playing to a not-so-young (for the most part) audience. And the not-so-youngs looking back nostalgically to their own young years. And the pain of young love – not now so painful – is the bridge between play and audience. And the songs of course.

Brilliant songs they are too, from the 50s and 60s. Great tunes, proper lyrics and performed by a marvellously multi-talented company – who sing, dance and play fit to bust. BOBBY’S GIRL, POETRY IN MOTION, LET’S TWIST AGAIN . . . Is there a song from the period missing? Don’t think so.

Adolescent Bobby (who’s loved by plain(ish) Laura) is in love with busty Sue, who’s fallen for handsome Norman . . . They all hang around in St Mungo’s youth club, and even play ping-pong. Southend features, too. And, surprise, surprise, it all ends happily ever after.

Laura is fabulously played by Samantha Dorrance; from her small frame comes a huge voice and more than any others she captures the period’s vocal tone perfectly. Ben James-Ellis is a charming rogue with as sexy a hip-thrust as I haven’t seen in years. And David Ribi captures all of Bobby’s painful gaucheness.

But the honours really do go to the company as a whole – with their guitars, drums, trumpets, trombones and wailing saxophones. Audience members indeed did join in; it brings tears to your eyes and a great big smile to your face.

And where else could ‘I give it foive’ get such an immediate chuckle of recognition. (And if you don’t recognise it, you’re not old enough.)

Phil / Older Bobby: Graeme Henderson
Daisy: Francesca Loren
Andy: Adam Howard
Richard: Matthew Quinn
Colin: Chris Coxon
Barry: Christopher Wheeler
Derek: Tristan Pate
Bobby: David Ribi
Ray: Josh Little
Laura: Samantha Dorrance
Sue: Katie Birtill
Donna: Anna Campkin
Norman: Ben James-ellis
Frank/ Slugger / Compere: Christopher Fry
Eric: James Nitti
Jeremy: Bobbie Durham
Babs: Emily O’Keeffe

Director: Bob Tomson
Musical Supervisor: Keith Strachan
Choreographer: Carole Todd
Set Designer: Sean Cavanagh
Costume Designer: Sean Cabanagh, Bridig Guy
Lighting Designer: Mark Howett
Sound Designer: Ben Harrison

2011-06-30 21:49:26

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