The Lowry, 31 October 2011
Another jukebox musical, this one set in the early 60s, just before The Beatles came along and changed everything for the better.
We get a string of well-known songs and a story built around them: the usual deal. The story is solid but unsurprising, though Donna (Anna Campkin) does deliver some saucy lines. She’s a game girl.
As you might imagine, some of the performances veer towards karaoke, and the decision to include ‘In Dreams’ was spectacularly ill-judged. Apparently, we are supposed to clear from our minds the performance of the song in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. Right, fat chance; it can’t be done. Some songs just carry too much baggage for them to be recontextualised a la Derrida.
Then we had angel-winged Teddy Boys pushing dodgems – a nice conceit, but what were they wearing on their feet? Why, plimsolls! Surely they would have been wearing winkle pickers or that other kind of footwear, what’re they called, brothel creepers? The Manchester Peacock Society will be shedding their feathers post-haste. When did historical accuracy and attention to detail become just too much trouble?
However, I have to concede that the slo-mo fight scene was a terrific moment.
Yes, this is a solid and serviceable show; but it will hardly set the world alight.
Dreamboats and Petticoats is currently on tour and the full tour dates are here.