Dreamboats and Miniskirts is set in late 1962 (Act 1) and mid 1963 (Act 2) and is the follow up to the earlier Dreamboats and Petticoats show that was set in the 1950s. We open the show with Bobby (Alex Beaumont) and Laura (Elizabeth Carter) appearing "live" on television singing together when the track they are miming to sticks. Humiliated Bobby leaves Laura on her own at the television studio (despite her best offers to him not to) and returns home. Bobby's friend Ray (Laura's brother played by David Luke) soon comes round to his flat and we learn that Ray is now working as a ladies hairdresser. Ray is still "romancing" Donna (Anna Campkin) who is now working in a boutique.
With his recording career and personal life now apparently in ruins, Bobby goes with Ray to meet his old friends and former band mates of "The Conquests" at their old meeting place in St Mungo's Hall. Bobby rejoins the group as a vocalist and Laura turns up and is not impressed with his vocals on some songs. The band decide to try and get their old band mate Norman (Ross William Wild) to return. Norman is now working for the council in the sewers and is happily married to the now pregnant Sue (Louise Olley). At St Mungo's we are also introduced to Tony Lister (Alan Howell) from Fontana Records who Bobby has brought along to see the band play. Tony is also the person who has signed Bobby and Laura to Fontana.
The story then follows the band as they try to get a record deal, Laura as she pursues her own solo career and our other main characters as their lives and friendships move throughout all of this.
This is just a great "feel good" show to go and see. For anyone with the slightest interest in the music from this early 1960s period, there are so many classic songs performed in this show by great vocalists and a great band. There is no one person in the main cast that you can really pick out here as everyone on stage tonight delivers great performances on every song. One song does however stand out for me this evening and that is Laura (Elizabeth Carter) performing a wonderful version of "You Don't Own Me" which was originally a hit for Leslie Gore.
There is great attention here to period clothing fashions and hairstyles and this is most obvious when Laura changes her looks (with Ray's help) to a new "Swinging 60s" one.
This show has a great cast that is of the right age to sing many of the songs of young love and just seems to perfectly capture that crossover period as Britain was moving out of the often grim 1950s and into a new decade. One noticable thing about this period is that many of the songs in the charts were either by American artists, or cover versions of American artists' songs. Very soon everything would change and Britain would be leading the world in pop music and fashion.
If, like many of the audience tonight, you are old enough to remember many (if not all) of the songs in this show then you are in for a great evening of nostalgia. If you are not old enough to remember these songs first time round, you will certainly recognise at least a few of these classics and you are still in for a great evening's entertainment.
My only regret of tonight's show is that I have not yet seen the earlier Dreamboats and Petticoats. That is something I will have to correct if the show ever returns. In fact, having both shows playing alternate nights would be a great idea I think.
Review by Tom King