Musical marathon is a dream tour to play

Alistair Higgins and the cast of Dreamboats And Petticoats, heading to Blackpool Opera House this week
Alistair Higgins and the cast of Dreamboats And Petticoats, heading to Blackpool Opera House this week

For 10 years, baby boomers have been reliving their youth through the CDs celebrating the music of the 50s and 60s.

And there’s another chance to catch up with the live version of Dreamboats And Petticoats as it returns to Blackpool Opera House on Monday.

The Olivier-nominated musical was inspired by the hit albums of the same name.

Set in 1961, emotions are running high as young musicians Norman and Bobby compete to win a national song writing competition – and, more importantly, the attention of gorgeous Sue.

But when Bobby, played this time out by Alistair Higgins, discovers that shy Laura is no slouch on the piano, love and rock‘n’roll fame beckons.

As a show that’s almost constantly touring, or at least on an alternating circuit with his sequel Dreamboats And Miniskirts, Ali says there’s a great family feel on the tour.

“This is actually my first run with Dreamboats And Petticoats - or Miniskirts, but a lot of the cast have been in it before, or in Save The Last Dance, which is part of the same group of shows from the producers,” he said.

“They’re a real family of shows, and the people who have been in them before look out for us newcomers.”

The show is a whistlestop marathon of 50s and 60s hits, 46 of them to be exact - making it a gruelling challenge for anyone joining the cast.

“There’s so much great music from that time, so there’s a lot to get through,” Ali said.

“From the first rehearsal, it’s full on for two and a half weeks. To do 46 songs, it’s hectic. Some are just snippets but it’s really packed.

“It’s quite daunting coming in to it from scratch. But at the end of every night, people are dancing in the aisles which makes it all worth it.

“A lot of the people seeing the show remember the songs and relate to it from the first time round, and that makes it a lot of fun to do.”

Written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, the writers behind TV classics Goodnight Sweetheart, Birds Of A Feather, The New Statesmen and Shine On Harvey Moon, the show features classic tracks from Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, and many more.

Songs include Let’s Dance, To Know Him Is To Love Him, Shaking All Over, Bobby’s Girl and Happy Birthday Sweet 16.

* Dreamboats And Petticoats, Opera House, Monday to Saturday, April 24 to 29.