The third installment in the highly popular Dreamboats and Petticoats theatre series opened at The Alexandra Theatre last night, bringing its own brand of nostalgic charm to Birmingham. Bringing on Back the Good Times follows the return of Laura and Bobby and the gang after the couple’s first taste of success, as they now travel in different directions – Laura being pushed into being an all-round TV star guesting with Mike and Bernie Winters, Bobby playing as part of a group in a bid to conquer his stage fright. How will the couple be able to keep their love strong whilst they are kept apart for the summer and will Bobby be able to appear live on TV again after a debacle in front of the Queen Mother? This entertaining musical answers all the questions.
It has to be said, the story is slight, and any excuse is used to slot in a song (It’s good to see you pair Happy Together…cue song), but this show is all about those fabulous 1960s songs, and the wonderful voices that are delivering them. Make no mistake, this is a polished, talented cast, all can sing and dance beautifully, and there are so many stand out moments, From ladies man Norman singing a wonderful ‘Save the Last Dance for Me’, to cute central couple Laura and Bobby duetting on a medley of ‘Where Did Our Love Go/I can’t help myself’. Sassy Sue delivers a stunning version of Dusty’s ‘I Just don’t know what to do with myself”, whilst I loved The Conquests rocking a lively version of ‘Hang on Sloopy’. The hits just keep coming, the music flows and flows.
The ensemble cast are all great, Elizabeth Carter (Laura), David Ribi (Bobby), Alastair Hill (Norman) Lauren Anderson-Oakley (Sue), Samara Clarke (Donna) and David Luke (Ray) are all excellent, showing lots of personality and real vocal prowess to bring their roles to life. There is also an absolute scene stealing performance from the brilliantly funny David Benson as Kenneth Williams, presenting the ‘Song for Europe’ with double entendres to spare, a truly laugh out loud sequence. Original 60s star Mark Wynter has a medley of his original hits that is a real crowd pleasing treat and his energetic performance totally belies the fact that he is almost 80 years old.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is a lovely lookback at a bygone age with music to die for. Highly entertaining.