26-31 January 2015
Reviewed by Michelle Llabani
A fantastic night at the Derngate theatre. The staff are courteous and helpful and the Royal & Derngate is spaciously laid out, providing ample space and facilities for a pre-show drink and mingle with friends.
Not having seen Dreamboats and Petticoats we thought we might be at a disadvantage, but the moment the curtain raised and the first notes played we were immediately transported back in time. It was difficult for the audience to resist tapping out the beat and singing along to familiar well-loved songs.
It is not only the music that defines this extremely professional production for the set designs displaying places; like the Cavern Club, Room at the Top and Southend’s Kursall; merchandise popular at the time but still recognised now, and photographs are also evocative of an era that many remembered well. For others it may be a good history lesson. References to popular places to ‘hang out’ like the Golden Egg and Wimpy Bars and the use of products like the transistor radio, hairdryers and the leatherette seats with the black and white design on the sides added authenticity.
The costumes seamlessly linked the late fifties and early sixties and were colourful, varied but above all faithful to the times they represented. My mother remembers well her first pair of white ‘kinky’ boots and cream Cuban heel shoes exactly like those Laura wore. Along with the changing hairstyles this added to the charm of the show.
The stories of Bobby and Laura, Norman and Sue, Ray and Donna, and a youth club band are expertly interwoven not just with the sounds of the sixties, but programmes like Ready Steady Go, Thank your Lucky Stars or even crowding round a wireless to listen to Radio Luxembourg. There are some cameo moments like the scene in the hairdressers, Bobby dancing like Freddie, (from Freddie and the Dreamers) and the drive to Liverpool to lighten the mood.
All this is further enhanced by an extremely accomplished cast, who sang, danced, played instruments and overall gave an exemplary performance. Whilst ‘House of the Rising Sun’ and the Full Company’s rendition of ‘I Get Around’ and are most memorable there are many more that could be mentioned. We wondered if the songs were chosen or story written first but decided that it really didn’t matter as they meld together perfectly to entertain and delight.
5 stars, a real joy for both old and young alike.
Tickets cost from £14 to £32.50 (plus £2.80 transaction fee),
Dreamboats and Miniskirts is at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton until 31 January 2015. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01604 624811.
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP | 01604 624811