Reviewed by Roz Carter
There’s nothing nicer than seeing a completely full auditorium enjoying themselves at a good ol’ fashioned show. At the New Wimbledon Theatre the auditorium is packed to the rafters with little old ladies, rotary club members, girls on a night out and a smattering of drama students, all excited to see Dreamboats and Petticoats.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is quite frankly marvellous. A jolly good show about teenagers at a youth club in the 60s, it follows our young leading man Bobby as he deals with those all-consuming teenage issues like acne, girlfriends, going out and winning the National Church Youth Group Association’s songwriting contest. Ok, so that last part didn’t affect me in my youth, but it makes for a gentle plot where the songs of the 60s are the stars.
Stephen Rolley as Bobby is a complete conundrum. His slightly high pitched voice, eager eyes and youthful mannerisms do not match his singing voice at all and his chocolate truffley voice is, well if I’m honest, absolutely dreamy. His sweetheart Laura is played by the cute-as-a-button Hannah Boyce and the two of them make such an innocent couple I’d leave them alone to babysit completely un-chaperoned and know her brassiere would remain clasped to her chest.
But it’s not all sweetness and light. As Bobby’s teenage crush Sue, Louise Olley is all curves and curls with a wiggle in her step; the epitome of every teenage boy’s fantasy. Mathew Colhart’s Norman lacks the dangerous sexuality that the part needs for there to be the fizzy sparks of chemistry between the two of them, but his voice and looks certainly suit the role. The real surprise turn was by Mark Wynter of 60s pop heart-throb fame. He is nimble, energetic and still hasn’t lost that twinkle in his eye that means when he serenades an elderly audience member she looks 16 again.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is a high energy romp through memory lane that has everyone over the age of 60 singing along to the songs they listened to when they were first falling in love. With a fantastically characterised live band, retro costumes and over 46 pop hits, its slightly cheesy script can easily be overlooked. I thoroughly recommend taking your Grandma, her bridge club, their friends in the WI and potentially even that chap at the social club she’s had her eye on, both of you will love it.
Dreamboats and Petticoats was reviewed at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 29 July 2013 where it plays until 3 August before touring.