Dreamboats & Petticoats – Review – Bradford Alhambra
By Sandra Callard, June 2022
Capacity theatregoers sang along, swayed to the music and tapped their feet to this wonderful interpretation of the Swinging Sixties. The cast were fantastic, with singers and dancers from across the spectrum presenting a show that was slick and joyful. It started off slowly and then the momentum built up as the cast performed to perfection in what was a surprisingly demanding show.
The costumes were exactly right for the sixties, with the tiny mini dresses of the girls making you wonder how you had dared to wear them, and the boys looking like school leavers with no ties on, parading an array of sixties gear with hair that was just too long for their dads to have approved. It was lovely stuff and very nicely and intelligently done.
I did love the quaint and funny performance of almost non-singer, David Benson, especially his Kenneth Williams one. He gave clever, humorous and unique performances that were deliciously different and were a great addition to the solid body of sixties music.
“Love and feeling”
The decade is back in vogue at the moment and although there are other theatrical interpretations to be seen, but I have no hesitation in saying that this one captures the mood better than any. This is in spite of the small but varying problems that off stagers were having with the sound on the stage of the Alhambra. It was certainly not a massive problem, but it could have bothered some actors. Not this cast, however, who ignored it and carried on regardless, as we carried on enjoying the show.
The songs chosen were pure gold. Too many to mention them all, but the highlights were ‘Lipstick on Your Collar’, ‘Sealed With a Kiss’, ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ and ‘Dream Baby’. There were dozens more, but every one that was sung, was performed with love and feeling and fun, and each one brought the sixties into a bright and startling life on stage. Also, all music and singing is sung live on stage, which is not done in every show – so there’s another feather in the cap of the actors, singers and musicians despite it adding to their stress and workload.
The Alhambra Theatre in Bradford has one of the most beautiful auditoriums in the country and this show did it proud. Every member of the cast have a right to feel proud of themselves.
Songwriters come and go, but the selection made for this production was the very best of a time when music was King. Afterwards, people walked about whistling, humming or singing one or other of the above songs and it was truly joyous to hear. If you are my somewhat senior age go and hear those glorious songs again and even if you’re not, go and have an introduction and enjoy one of the best nights of music you will ever have.