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.
Slug & Lettuce swings its doors open in Milton Keynes
Slug & Lettuce brings a dose of glitz and glamour to The Hub with a number of activities taking place throughout August to celebrate the doors opening.
Free DofE places for young people with SEND
Buckinghamshire young peoples’ charity Action4Youth is providing free expedition places for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) to enable them to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award.
Take to the skies and support your local Hospice
A skydive is the ultimate Bucket-List challenge and Willen Hospice is giving local people the chance to tick it off, while supporting a fantastic cause.
Mayor of MK to host basic life support course for Cancer Centre Appeal
Milton Keynes Mayor Cllr Sam Crooks is stepping outside his comfort zone this month, to help raise funds for Milton Keynes Hospital Charity’s Cancer Centre Appeal.
World-first study reveals dogs are able to detect lung infections
Medical Detection dogs, based in Milton Keynes, are able to detect ultra-low concentrations of Pseudomonas, the commonest cause of lung infection in the life-limiting inherited disease, cystic fibrosis.
Denbigh Bucks the National Trend with Rise in Top Grades
Denbigh is delighted that more of its students achieved the very highest grades at A Level this year, bucking the national trend which saw a fall in the number of top grades achieved.
Hanslope residents support ‘next steps’ for Imogen
Bloor Homes outdoor cinema screening raises £4,000 to help Imogen Roberts walk again.
Looking for something fun to do on the first Sunday in September?
RSPCA Milton Keynes and North Bucks are holding Paws in the Park on Sunday 1st September at Marsh Drive Playing Fields, Great Linford MK14 5HH.