Dreamboats and Petticoats (2013), Edinburgh Playhouse, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Bill Kenwright & Laurie Mansfield in Association with Universal music
Bob Tomson (Director), Keith Strachan (Music Supervisor), Carole Todd (Choreographer)
Mark Wynter (older Bobby), Hannah Boyce (Laura), Stephen Rolley (Young Bobby), Matthew Colthart (Norman), Louise Olley (Sue), Will Finlason (Ray), Laura Sillett (Donna)
Running time

‘Dreamboats & Petticoats’ becomes very much a ‘Wynters Tale’. The bonus tracks from pop idol Mark Wynter was the icing on an exceedingly good cake and a masterclass in how to put over a number that this young cast strove to emulate.

Many Happy Returns to Dreamcoats and Petticoats in Edinburgh's Playhouse for at least the third time in the last five years. This is a production that rolls back the years - 52 years to be exact - to the pre-Beatles era. 

There are over 40 musical numbers in this show and they come along at a fast and furious pace. Older members of the audience will recall that musical numbers were a lot shorter in these days and this particular production has raised the pace of the show.

Set in a youth club in Essex, the story follows the lives and loves of teenagers obsessed with the prospect of fame and fortune through music.

Writers Laurence Marks & Maurice Grans met in exactly that setting and their observations of the youth club and life in that era were spot on and witty.

The storyline is fairly light but there is some social commentary that reminds you of a time where life, while still complicated for teens, was a lot simpler.

Stephen Rolley captures the uncertainty of the boy who tries to win over the sexiest girl in the club while ignoring Laura the younger but talented sister of his best friend.

Glaswegian Hannah Boyce makes a stunning professional debut as Laura and she handles all the big numbers really well and is no slouch with her acting and dancing.

Matt Colthart plays the man rather than the boy who gets the ‘Little Town Flirt’ Sue (Louise Olley). Matt plays ‘Norman’ the older lead singer in true ‘Travolta’ style with a voice that deals really well with some of the bigger numbers such as ‘Great Pretender’.

Louise and Will Finlason and Laura Sillett as the secondary ‘romance’ catch the eye and ear with energetic dancing and this cast seem to have an added dimension when launching into the songs. Some of the links are contrived and I still think the balance of dialogue to music is still not right but the audience were not complaining.

The singers were backed by a group of excellent musicians who produced the authentic sound of the era. What was a good show was boosted every time Mark Wynter was on stage as Father and Youth Club Leader and his compilation of some of his greatest hits made this a memorable occasion. The smiles on the faces of audience members were testament to an enjoyable evening!

Show times

Runs to Saturday, 7.30pm; Wed/Sat, 2.30pm