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THEATRE REVIEW: FTN reviews Dreamboats and Petticoats at The Grand Opera House, Belfast

March 11th, 2014 by Big Phil Comments

Dreamcoats and Petticoats
The Grand Opera House, Belfast
Fot booking and info go here

Inspired by the seven smash hit multi-million selling albums of the same name, the West End sell-out sensation DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS features some of the greatest hit songs of the Rock ‘n’ Roll era.

The dazzling success of the first seven albums in the Dreamboats and Petticoats series sent the message loud and clear. With over 3 and a half million copies sold and several weeks at the Number One spot in the compilation charts, the Great British public were saying that they didn’t just want to listen to pure nostalgia: they’d love to see it as well.

In 1961 emotions run high as young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win a national song-writing competition – and, more importantly, the attention of the gorgeous Sue! But when Bobby discovers that shy Laura is no slouch on the piano, love and rock ‘n’ roll fame beckons.

Featuring classic tracks from Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, and many more, including Let’s Dance, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Shaking All Over, Bobby’s Girl, Little Town Flirt, Only Sixteen, Runaround Sue, Happy Birthday Sweet 16, Let It Be Me, Great Pretender, C’mon Everybody, Let’s Twist Again and many more hits from music’s golden era!

It’s the early sixties in Essex, and Bobby is a 17-year-old school kid who dreams of writing a pop song and becoming a mega star. Along with his friend Ray and Ray’s Sister, Laura, who all hang out at the local youth club.

With these teenagers all aspiring to become pop stars, their world is turned upside down by the arrival of Norman, an Elvis-esque style and persona to match, who also has desires to make it big in the pop world

With usual trials of love and broken hearts, can Bobby make his dreams come true?

Dreamcoats and Petticoats is a musical, in which ALL songs are performed live on the stage, both singing and playing. Indeed, the backing band that performs every song you hear is superb and is full of character and vibe.

The actors perfectly capture the youthful exuberance and adolescent frailties that come with young love, backed by one rock and roll/pop hit of the era after another. This is a great ensemble piece in which everyone gives it their all on stage.

The set design is based around the band and the minimal changes throughout the show’s run time are swiftly moved around a whirlwind of lights and rock n’ roll beats.

The script however, is something different. The main story of a young teenager finding the right girl will certainly resonate with any audience, as will the foibles, laughs, giggles, tears and tantrums of first love.

There are however, very questionable (at best) themes and characters that the music and laughter glosses over, but may leave more than a bitter after taste to this lolly pop cotton candy musical. Whilst it’s fair and honest to say that most of the audience ignored some of these points, a number of audience members didn’t and as always it’s left to the viewer’s own discretion as to how much empathy, understanding or ignorance they delve into these themes.

That said, the performances, energy and sheer excitement bounces off the stage and the audience can’t help but want to join in, and that may be all you wish to think about whilst enjoying this performance.

3 out of 5 Nerds



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I arrived on Earth in 1977 and have virtually devoted my entire existence to cult films, television programmes and cartoons. I am a very big fan of Star Wars and Star Trek; I may struggle with foreign languages but I can order live Gagh in Klingon! I’m the Nerd that knows the trivia but I’m hopeless at sport!