A SLIGHTLY weak story holds together a medley of fine tunes during the opening night of Dreamboats and Miniskirts.
The sequel to Dreamboats and Petticoats kicked off its UK tour in a ten-night run at Windsor Theatre Royal last night.
The characters of the show’s prequel Dreamboats and Petticoats embark on a new road to stardom, with record contracts, recording studios and an old hometown bar making the usual appearances.
The tumultuous relationship of Laura (Elizabeth Carter) and Bobby (Alex Beaumont) is somewhat unbelievable of two characters so squeaky clean, but the back-and-forth banter of Donna (Anna Campkin) and Ray (David Luke) is totally believable.
Sue (Louise Olley) and Norman (Ross William Wild) play the stereotypical young lovers with care and emotion.
The script is slightly too simplistic but the cheap gags seem to please the audience, with the jokes closest the mark winning the most laughs.
The music is mostly upbeat and the show is full of good versions of swinging 60s classics. A number of the songs are quite impressive, including the cast’s acapella version of You Really Got A Hold On Me which is fantastic.
If there was more of this in the show, it could be a hit. Instead, the music relies on the live band, which is indeed very strong, but lacks the atmosphere that the acapella rendition brings to the stage. The strongest voices accompany the band well, the weaker ones are slightly washed out.
The louder, bouncier musical numbers are the cast’s strongpoint, while the love ballads stray somewhat onto the wrong side of cheesy. Rockier numbers like Twist and Shout show off the live band whilst a full company performance of I Get Around is energetic and fun.
The female trio are the showstoppers of the night; their strong, melodic voices are perfectly littered amongst the set list to lift the mood of the piece at the moments when it loses force, and do so every time. Ballads like All I Have to Do Is Dream are struck with heartfelt precision by the three strong voices.
As Donna, Anna Campkin is an eye catcher. Encapsulating musical theatre at its best, each movement and facial expression is exaggerated with perfect control.
Her emotions are written on her face at every moment, a stark contrast to some of the shows more static performances. After a somewhat underwhelming start, Donna’s rendition of Hello Stranger gets the show going.
Ross William Wild makes quite an entrance with Handy Man, whilst his suave attitude and confident voice reach their peak in Oh Pretty Woman, as he takes the prize for leading male.
The live music is impressive and the more energetic moments lift the performance. The cast belt out some big hits and if you’re a fan of swinging sixties tunes, this show is for you. Go for the music, not for the story.
Tickets are £12.50 to £28.50 from 01753 853888 or go to www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk.
6 to 16 August, 8pm and matinees, Windsor Theatre Royal, Windsor.