Dreamboats & Petticoats at The New Victoria Theatre- Review
By Ladywordsmith | Tuesday, July 24, 2012, 01:37
I used to be a very cynical teenager in the years under 'Thatch'. I said feel good tv and musicals drugged the masses out of being ripped off in their lives and I sneered at them. I didn't know reality tv was ahead.
So, I got the chance to review this musical and this is what the New Victoria Theatre has to say about it in their press release;
"Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the team behind Goodnight Sweetheart, Birds of a Feather, The News Statesmen and Shine on Harvey Moon, the show follows the talented young musicians, Norman and Bobby, as they compete to win the hearts of their adoring female fans, especially the gorgeous Sue. However, when Laura shows she is no slouch with the guitar, love and rock 'n' roll fame beckons.
This show of pure nostalgia features classic tracks from Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury and many more, including Let's Dance, To Know Him Is To Live Him, Shaking All Over, Bobby's Girl, Three Steps to Heaven, Only Sixteen, Runaround Sue, Great Pretender and C'Mon Everybody.Dreamboats & Petticoats takes the audience on a trip down memory lane and celebrates the golden era of music – don't miss it when it jives to Woking." I thought at the very least it would be a nice night out (I've come along way since the cynical days) but nothing much more. It's true it is a feel good musical but there are two things that stood out particularly over and above the great singing, engaging performances and good writing (though maybe it was all three of these that lead to the overrall.) Since the New Victoria Theatre has been there and I have been to many many performances, I have never seen the whole theatre get up, on an opening night, to dance and sing so enthuisiastically along with the actors even in Panto season (two octogenarians, one of them on crutches were doing the twist and showing us their vigorous hand jiving and had followed the show since seeing it two years ago). The other is that musicals like this contain so much more than the boy meets girl scenario. There is an empathy between the characters and the audience, an understanding in the writing of how people are. At one stage the main character Bobby, hankering for an electric guitar in 1960's Britain says to his Dad ' Didn't you ever have a dream when you were growing up?' for his father to reply 'Yes son, to survive the Blitz'. There are also topical jokes about bankers and the current state of the country is dealt with in wry asides. The relationships, music and teenage culture of the time is woven through the night and obviously resonated with the audience many of whom would have experienced the songs the first time around, however, there were many others of various generations who also got something out of it. The songs, being familiar classics played and sung by the actors were really enjoyable and at one stage the whole cast singing a harmony and lightening the moment with baritone interludes really carried it off excellently.
I don't know why I'm going on about it except to say that after all the cynicism maybe it's productions like this that don't gloss over the difficult days but acknowledge them, find comedy in them and a way to lift peoples hearts in difficult times that are exactly what is needed. The fact that the company director stood by the door at the end and thanked everyone individually for coming was a great indicator of how people feel about their production as he said 'We really love this and get a kick out of it, and we hope people see that'.
So, after all, I lost the programme I had that I'd made my notes on and was just going to write, 'brilliant' because as a night out, it is, but also as a tradition, a way of this good writing and performing giving people a break from the everyday it does instil in people a remembrance of difficult times past that were overcome and can be again.
Dreamcoats and Petticoats is at The New Victoria Theatre until Sat 28 July, performance times as follows;
Mon – Sat eves 7.30pm
Wed & Sat mats 2.30pm
Tickets £12 - £29.50 (premium seats £35)
You can book tickets by calling the Box Office on 0844 871 7645 (fees apply)
Groups Booking Line 0844 871 7601 or online at www.atgtickets.com/woking (fees apply)