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Dreamboats and Petticoats review at Savoy London

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Having rocked around the country during 2009, this musical – 42 numbers based on two chart-topping albums – has finally transferred into the West End.

It owes its existence entirely to the sixties songs being revived, many of which are lucky to have survived for almost a half-century and are unlikely to rate as classic pop.

The show is about teenagers and their painful boy-girl relationships. It is loud, lively and energetic, a constant reminder of the bobby socks era with a young cast dancing and ever-ready to hand jive.

As with all earlier productions celebrating past pop decades, the end comes with the entire cast on stage, plus an excellent eight-piece band, belting out – “Stand and dance if you want to” – The Twist, C’mon Everybody and At the Hop. And the audience rise to the musical bait.

With this kind of show, the songs – such as Only Sixteen, Let’s Dance, and Runaround Sue – are the stars and the story is flimsy and simply intended to parade the numbers.

Full marks to the young company. The two leads are Scott Bruton (from The X Factor) and making her West End debut, Daisy Wood-Davis. The latter may play a bespectacled geek, but she has a voice that is full of career prospects.

Young Bruton does well, too, and Ben Freeman (best known for his role in Emmerdale) is exactly right for his Elvis-based knee-shaking character.

Jennifer Biddall, from Hollyoaks, enjoys herself as the youth club’s sexpot. However the kids don’t get away with all the plaudits as comparative veteran David Cardy displays valuable experience singing and dancing as Bruton’s father and always holds the eye.

The rest of the gang can take a bow – but I think the sixties songs on offer were lucky to enjoy their company.

Production Information

Savoy, London, July 27-September 12

Laurence Marks, Maurice Green
Bob Tomson
Bill Kenwright, Laurie Mansfield, Universal Music
Cast includes
Scott Bruton, Ben Freeman, Jennifer Biddall, David Cardy
Running time
2hrs 25mins

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