Monday, 13 October 2014

Review | DREAMBOATS AND MINISKIRTS (UK Tour) October 2014

Following on from where Petticoats left off, the Dreamboats are back and their girls in miniskirts! Whatever happened to Bobby and Laura? It's now 1963, and the world is changing. Bobby and Laura's single "Dreamboats and Petticoats" has not taken off. Norman and Sue have settled down to non-marital bliss - and a baby! But Ray and Donna seem blissfully happy...

It's often that the sequel is never as good ... Grease 2 ... but here it's quite the opposite. Whereas Dreamboats and Petticoats seems to drag after an hour, here we have something altogether more interesting. The rise of Bobby's band The Conquests against the success of The Beatles and Laura's solo career makes for a plot that twists and turns patting the way for plenty of 60s hits - many of which make up the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. Nobody comes to these musicals for a gritty storyline which probably takes a backseat - what shines though above all is a fantastic cast and the finest actor musicianship.

Charlotte Peak and Chloe Edwards-Peak on saxophone are excellent and compliment the band of boys who impress with hits such as Do You Love Me and Venus In Blue Jeans. David Luke belts out some impressive vocals as Ray whilst Louise Olley who reprises her role as Sue is in great voice, particularly with classic Be My Baby. Alex Beaumont is charming as Bobby and Elizabeth Carter shines as Laura - her rendition of You Don't Own Me is a highlight. Commanding bad boy Norman (Ross William Wild) steals the show. Wild's presence is incredibly infectious and it's all eyes on him as he rocks through Oh Pretty Woman and Hippy Hippy Shake. 

Corners are cut however... it's the same set as Dreamboats and Petticoats but without the dodgems. The ping pong table also makes a return but gladly they don't play it whilst there's dialogue, which was distracting in the predecessor. The poster artwork also remains pretty much the same as Petticoats, but Miniskirts does take you on a whole new adventure. Little visual effort has been made to differentiate this from Petticoats which is clearly a safety measure to assure the audience - you know what you're getting. The whole thing is slicker, faster paced and a maturer storyline makes for a less fluffy, more energetic and exciting production that truly gets you into the spirit of the sixties.

At Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre until 18th October. Book here

Cast List: Alex Beaumont, Ross William Wild, Elizabeth Carter, Louise Olley, David Luke, Anna Campkin, Alan Howell, Will Tierney, Michael Kantola, Sheridan Lloyd, Chris Coxon, Damien Walsh, Josef Pitura-Riley, Josh Tye, Charlotte Peak, Chloe Edwards-Wood

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