Dreamboats and Petticoats
MKFM’s Arts Correspondent, Nancy Stevens at Milton Keynes Theatre, saw Dreamboats and Petticoats.
- Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the creators of Birds of a Feather, Goodnight Sweetheart and, a personal favourite of mine, a vehicle for the late, great Rik Mayall - The New Statesman. This new musical is inspired by the million-selling album with a whopping 45 songs shoehorned into the production. When Benny and Bjorn were approached by playwright Catherine Johnson to use the music of ABBA, their stipulation was that a strong story was essential and that the songs were contextual. This did not happen, unfortunately, because of the great number of songs which did not allow time for any character development.
Dreamboats is set in the early sixties after rock ‘n roll had us all shaken up and inhibitions were being lowered. The central characters, Laura and Bobby work well with just the right amount of chemistry. Laura, an excellent Elizabeth Carter, convincingly portrays the lovelorn teen whose unrequited love for Bobby threatens to overshadow their song-writing partnership. She plays the wide-eyed ingénue beautifully and has a lovely singing voice. Bobby, played by Alastair Higgins, also an aspiring songwriter, is not the archetypal leading man. He has a certain amount of boyish charm, and is distracted by the rather obvious charms of femme fatale Sue, (Laura Darton). Sue is trying to attract the attention of Norman, (Alastair Hill), the heartthrob who rubbishes the talents of Mick Jagger, et al, but is incapable of writing a song without plagiarism.
The actor/musicians were excellent and moved effortlessly between roles, but the production needed padding out, as the dancers were sparse. I am a huge fan of 50’s/60’s costumes, but the frocks did not reflect the publicity shots and seemed a bit low-budget apart from Laura’s last two dresses. I enjoyed the acapella numbers, particularly the slugger, the superb bass (Mike Lloyd) - this scene was the most amusing of the show.
Classic hits from Roy Orbison, The Shadows (with amusing references to Cliff Richard who was the English Elvis – hard to envisage, I know!) - It’s my party, Let’s Dance, Shaking All Over, Bobby’s Girl, Only Sixteen, Runaround Sue, Happy Birthday Sweet 16, Great Pretender, C’mon Everybody and Let’s Twist Again.
Overall, an excellent cast who had to make do with a weak and saccharine script, which is a shame, as this is a joyous celebration of this era of music, and most of the audience were on their feet for a rousing finale.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is on at Milton Keynes Theatre until 8 July.
LIVE TRAVEL: M1 in Milton Keynes closed due to multiple vehicle collision
MKFM will be updating this article as more news comes in.
RSPCA WEEK (DAY 3): Cats in Milton Keynes in urgent need of new homes
Each day of this week, MKFM will be sharing information about some of the local cats that are in need of a new home.
Group with baseball bats steal large quantity of cigarettes from man in Milton Keynes
Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following a robbery in Milton Keynes.
Roadworks taking place across Milton Keynes this week
To provide a safe working environment for staff, some temporary road closures and diversions may be necessary.
33-year-old Milton Keynes man charged with carrying knife in public
A Milton Keynes man has been charged with possession of a knife in Milton Keynes.
Man in his 20s stabbed in Milton Keynes town
Thames Valley Police is appealing for witnesses following an incident of assault in Milton Keynes.
19-year-old from Milton Keynes charged with knife possession following stop and search
A teeanger has been charged overnight with possessing a knife in a public place.
The Saxon Clinic in Milton Keynes launches gift list website to help Ukraine hospitals
A new gift list style website has been launched by The Saxon Clinic to match UK donations with a list of urgent supplies requested by a group of Ukraine hospitals on the frontline of war.
Unsuccessful bid for Milton Keynes as six places shortlisted to be home of new Great British Railways
The finalists in the competition to become the home of the new Great British Railways HQ have been announced today (5/7).
Brand new racing-themed roller coaster opens at Milton Keynes theme park
Young thrill seekers with a need for speed are being invited to ride a new race car themed roller coaster at Gulliver’s Land in Milton Keynes.
Innovative Arts Performance to take place featuring young people in Milton Keynes
Members of the public are being invited to an innovative arts performance featuring young people in Milton Keynes.
Double planning award for Milton Keynes Council
Milton Keynes Council has been awarded a fourth planning award.