Dreamboats and Petticoats – Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Reviewed by Helen and Garry McWilliams

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The sound of the sixties hits the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre this week and we were excited to see the West End transfer of this popular show. With the much promoted Mark Wynter starring and a young cast of talented musicians, dancers and actors – there was fair promise of a good night out.

We felt that it was a slow start despite the toe tapping sounds of ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘The Wanderer’ and ‘Good Timin’ which delighted the mainly older audience members who were reminiscing around us. The storyline was not initially clear and there appeared to be some diction problems, however these issues were soon eradicated and we felt thoroughly entertained by the end of the evening. It truly is a feel-good show which had the auditorium on their feet, clapping and singing along.

The six actors playing the central characters hadn’t many credits to their name in the programme, therefore we were intrigued to discover how well they carried the story. There were some highly impressive performances among them, Louise Olley (Sue) and Laura Sillett (Donna) both have strong, assured singing voices and provided highlights with ‘Jezebel’, ‘Shakin All Over’ and ‘You Don’t Know’. Not only were they excellent musically, they also possess almost perfect comic timing and are both names to watch out for in the future, we’re sure.

Matthew Colthart made a notable contribution as ‘Norman’ and was the epitome of the cool self-obsessed ‘Teddy-Boy’, rather like ‘Danny’ from ‘Grease’ at times. Will Finlanson proved himself to be an exceptional actor and put in an entertaining performance as ‘Ray’, best friend of ‘Bobby’ and older brother of ‘Laura’. The storyline is based around the tangled teenage love lives led by the afore-mentioned characters who all attend the same Youth Club, ‘Bobby’ and ‘Laura’ are perhaps the leads in as much as their plot is at the heart of the show. Therefore this was no mean feat for Stephen Rolley and Hannah Boyce, who each had a variety classic hits to sing between them such as ‘Runaway/Who’s Sorry Now’ which were performed in tandem, and very effectively. ‘It’s Only Make Believe’, ‘Only Sixteen’ and ‘Let It Be Me’ were also clearly favourites from that era and lent themselves to the tale extremely well.

Mark Wynter made a welcome guest appearance in his role of ‘Grandad/Dad’ and it was obvious during the finale that the audience members were appreciative of his medley of songs ‘Venus in Blue Jeans’, ‘Go Away Little Girl’ and ‘It’s Almost Tomorrow’. A special mention must go to the on-stage musicians who were all multi-talented, it made a refreshing change to see them on stage and integrated among the cast as opposed to in the orchestra pit.

‘Dreamboats and Petticoats’ remains in Wolverhampton until Saturday 21st September, so there is still plenty of time to book your tickets. Please visit www.grandtheatre.co.uk for more information.

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Break A Leg Review Interview: Bonnie Langford

She’s been entertaining theatre goers and for over 40 years, and we’ve been fortunate enough to experience some of her amazing performances, first-hand – therefore we felt it was time to interview the legend who is Bonnie Langford.

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After forty plus successful years in show business, what’s been your highlight so far?
I’m so fortunate to have such a wealth of experiences and it’s impossible to choose one as they have crossed so many phases of my life. However, playing Baby June in Gypsy on
Broadway with Angela Lansbury was a brilliant start! And to think I have had many more
seems greedy ….. Cats, Just William, Pirates of Penzance, Peter Pan, Dancing On Ice,
Chicago, Sweet Charity …..actually most of my career has been well lit!!

Looking back over your career, is there anything you’d do differently if you had your time again?
In retrospect, no as I believe we are presented with challenges to help us learn even if its not to repeat that mistake! But sometimes it’s difficult to see the bigger picture whilst you’re
immersed in a project. I think I could have made some different decisions but that’s life.

We’re sure there must be many roles that you’re still itching to play, which role would be your ‘dream’ at this stage?
I’m a great believer in fate so I never limit myself to ‘dreams’ work wise ….. That way I
remain surprised!

So, ‘9 to 5 The Musical’ has come to a close, now (we really enjoyed it), did Dolly
Parton personally appear at any of the venues?

No.

How long are you back in ‘Spamalot’ for and would this be a show you could see
yourself often making return visits to? We can’t wait to see you as the Lady of the
Lake…

I love being a part of Spamalot, it’s a joy to be in such a talented and happy cast, crew and
band. It’s a privilege to be there. At the moment I’m there until November.

We’ve seen ‘Spamalot’ before and particularly enjoy ‘The Song That Goes Like This’ – how do you prepare to hit those high notes?
I warm up!

You’ve been fortunate enough to appear in the West End and on Broadway, how do the two compare and dare we ask, have you a preference?
There’s a very high regard for Broadway performers and a wonderful community spirit as
well as a strong work ethic, but that’s true of the West End now. I’ve noticed there are many
more events taking place in London now such as West End Eurovision, and they really bring
artists and companies together to create a community here too.

Finally, what’s next for you once you have hung up the Lady of the Lake’s shoes?
I shall be doing pantomime in Guildford for Christmas!

We’d like to thank Bonnie for taking the time to allow us to interview her and can’t wait to review her performance in Spamalot, very soon.

You can catch Bonnie as The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot at the Playhouse Theatre – see the link here: http://www.spamalotwestend.co.uk/home

If you would like to see Bonnie play Fairy Snow in Cinderella this Christmas, follow the link to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford: http://www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk/production/cinderella

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