EVEN for a jukebox musical the plot of Dreamboats and Petticoats is wafer thin and pretty transparent, but as the curtain rises on St Mungo’s Church of England youth club circa 1961 and the band launches into Chris Montez’ Let’s Dance you have to ask yourself: does it matter?
You know this show is not going to tax the grey matter, so you might as well forget you’ve got any. This is just pure unadulterated rock ‘n’ roll. And pretty soon — within about two nano-seconds to be precise — you’ll find yourself swept up in the bounce and bump of the music and the sheer youthful exuberance of it all.
For the pedants among you, here’s a brief plot summary: Geeky schoolboy Bobby wants to be a rock star and auditions as singer for a band. He’s got a great voice, but he’s soon kicked into touch by new kid Norman, played with panache by Matthew Colthart.
Poor old Bobby can’t compete with Norman’s swivel-hip action, cool looks (think John Tavolta meets the Fonz, complete with leather jacket, beetle-crushers and a quiff that skims the ceiling) and a voice with yodel-like inflections that ensures every girl within a 10-mile radius will want to fling her knickers at him.
Laura (school swot with national health glasses and pigtails) adores Bobby and wants to write songs with him, but Bobby is distracted by Sue, the blonde bombshell town tart, who in turn has the hots for Norman. All this unravels in the first 10 minutes.
Writers Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran (Lo and Mo) have woven a story around the soundtrack of a rock ‘n’ roll compilation album and created something so corny it’s postitively dripping in cheese. But the band is incredibly accomplished and the singers brilliant. There are two impressive doo-wop a capella pieces, and some great jokes. By the end, everyone in the theatre was on their feet grooving, and every woman, from 20 to 70, was itching to lob her knickers at Norman.
* Continues to Saturday. Visit www.atgtickets.com
Dreamboats and Petticoats
New Theatre Oxford
Monday, February 17