Dreamboats and Petticoats, Ipswich Regent, until Saturday

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THEY act, they dance, they sing ... you’ll even see the company of this foot-tapping musical on stage playing a host of instruments in this feelgood show.

It overflows with good vibes and fun and there is even the nostalgic sight of four tasty Waggon Wheels, remembered with fondness by those in Monday night’s opening evening of the week-long show.

It really was a trip down teenager memory lane for lots of those at the Regent which featured an array of the hottest pop songs from the early day of rock ‘n’ roll.

Dreamboats and Petticoats is not in the same league as Chicago or Les Miserables, or any of the classic long-running West End shows, and doesn’t pretend to be.

It’s a jukebox musical with a simple story of young love built round the songs from the late 1950s and early 1960s

It springs from the soaraway success of the Dreamboats and Petticoats CD collection. The first of them spent several weeks at the number one spot in the UK compilation charts and the series sold over two million copies, which got the producers thinking about transferring this to the stage.

It’s 1961 and emotions are running high as young musicians Bobby and Norman compete to win a national song-writing competition – as well as the affections of the gorgeous and voluptuous Sue.

But when Bobby discovers that Laura is hot stuff on the piano, it could be that both love and rock ’n’ roll fame are on the cards.

Bobby is auditioning for a band in the local youth club. He almost gets the job but is pushed out at the last minute by the late arrival of the cool, confident Norman.

Other members of the club include Bobby’s best friend, Ray, and his sister Laura, who has a crush on Bobby.

Then comes the announcement about the nationwide song-writing competition for youth clubbers. So, Bobby and Laura enter as a team and seem to be doing well, but it becomes complicated because Bobby has his eye on Sue, who flirts with him but really wants Norman. Meanwhile, Ray has got a thing for Sue’s friend, Donna.

The songs keep coming as the story line unfolds with memorable and singalong hits including Let’s Dance, Shakin’ All Over, Things, In Dreams, Bobby’s Girl, Little Town Flirt, Sweet Nothin’s, Poetry in Motion, Do You Wanna Dance, Only The Lonely, It’s My Party and Da Do Ron Ron.

And the audience gets the chance to get up on their feet for the finale to dance and sing along to Let’s Twist Again, C’mon Everybody, Hey Baby and At The Hop.

Well over a million people have seen the show and it’s not done yet because when this tour is over the musical is going back into London for a season.

Dreamboats and Petticoats is at the Ipswich Regent until Saturday. Tickets: 01473 433100 and ipswichregent.com

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