Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Dreamcoats & Petticoats - Manchester Opera House

Dreamboats & Petticoats
by Laurence Marks & Maurice Gran

Director: Bob Tomson & Bill Kenwright

Reviewer: Steph Rowe

Set in the early 60’s when the population of the UK stood at 52,675.094 most of which were still shocked at the type of music the teenagers of the day were listening and dancing to. The era when American food hit our streets and saw the first opening of hamburger joints like Wimpy and when
fashion altered so much it was classed as indecent by the older generation. Yes Rock and Roll had arrived in Britain.

The show set to music from the sixties and also using the best selling compilation album of the same name to provide the basis of this jukebox musical we are given yet another story of unrequited love by a young girl, quite the ugly duckling, who while attending St Mungo’s Church Youth Club who slowly becomes a swan and of how Norman and Bobby compete for a place in the band and in the hearts of their true loves.

The cast of Actor/Musicians makes this musical work well, so well it has the audience singing along and dancing in their seats. The performances of the whole cast was outstanding, but it was Ben Freeman who left me aghast, to think he had spent all those years in Emerdale, where his true talent was hidden has to be a crime that has now been rectified. Not only do we see his true acting ability come to light, but his voice his phenomenal, and leaves you in no doubt that he has found his niche in musical theatre.

Scott Bruton as Bobby and Daisy Wood-Davis as Laura make this love story come alive before your eyes, while AJ Dean as Ray (Laura’s big brother) gives his role a true to life feeling with his taking the mickey out of his little sister the family swot, while also trying to protect her from the clutches of amorous Norman and Bobby. Jennifer Biddall gave her all as Sue the girl with the sensational body that every boy wanted and every girl envied. While Emma Hatton’s role of Donna certainly made you sit up and pay attention, her range when singing is fantastic, she really does have a powerful voice.

David Cardy plays Phil and the older Bobby
with the panache and charm you expect from such a seasoned actor, even managing to sing and dance along with the rest of them. Full credit has to be given to the rest of the cast who ensured you were kept fully entertained even when the stars of the show were off stage, with each one giving a fabulous performance.

The set by Sean Cavanagh beautifully made up of posters from the 60’s era and scaffolding with flooring on different levels works so well allowing the cast to be free to unfold the story and be able to do such a marvellous job. The lighting by Mark Howett and sound by Ben Harrison also add to the shows flair and style.

Directors Bob Tomson & Bill Kenwright have really worked some theatrical magic with this productio
n giving the show the flamboyance and elegance needed to make it a show not to be missed.

So if you “Da Do Ron Ron” have nothing else on this week then "Da Do Ron Ron" to the Opera house and give Dreamboats and Petticoats a go.

Dreamboats and Petticoats runs at the Opera House until Sat 25th April 09
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