Peterborough has received its own special gift in the form of the world premiere of Dreamboats and Petticoats: The Christmas Party.
This is one present where you know exactly what you’re getting; around 30 rock’n’roll tracks, to be unwrapped with plenty of noise and raucous energy in the wonderful setting of the Broadway Theatre.
The story follows on from the conclusion of the original Dreamboats and Petticoats, where Bobby and Laura won a national songwriting competition in 1961, writing from their base at St Mungo’s Youth Club.
TV producers have taken note and want the duo and their friends to perform a Christmas show on national television - but they’ve only got one week to learn the songs and put it all together.
Can they do it? C’mon Everybody, the answer’s as obvious as Rudolph’s red nose…
There’s an innocence and an excitement to this show that works simply because the hits follow so quickly, in two tranches; the first half is a selection of non-Xmas 50s and 60s hits played as the team’s minds keep wandering from the task of putting a Christmas playlist together, while the second half is the Christmas Show.
Within seconds of the first chords of ‘Dreamboats’ the several hundred heads around the auditorium were bopping up and down in appreciation.
As one would expect, all performances are flawless - we enjoyed Let’s Twist Again, Swinging on a Star, and ‘For Christmas sake - Hippy Hippy Shake’ in the first half, while the second segment delivered the best performances of Jingle Bell rock and Santa Claus is coming to Town I’ve ever heard; the latter containing a sax solo in the centre as strong as a shot of eggnog.
The voice qualities are different enough to make each track interesting in its own right; Stephen Rolley’s Bobby is strong and steady, David Luke’s Ray has a more modern, almost diva-ish quality, and Megan Jones’ Laura has a beaming vibrancy that glows, even on a stage as glitzy and sparkling as this.
Little elves from Peterborough Youth Choir took to the stage for Mistletoe and Wine and White Christmas, and six unsuspecting members of the audience were plucked from the audience to ‘compete’ in a Rudolph sing-off.
If you’re looking for a last-minute cracker, then you’ve got until Sunday to get your tickets – we are so lucky that Mr Kenwright, famed for his Everton links, has decided that this won’t be a blue Christmas in Peterborough.
By JOHN BAKER