Friday, 28 October 2011

Dreamboats and Petticoats @ The Playhouse & Cast Interview with Patrick Burbridge

Welcome back to Access London and Thank You once again for continuing to support disability access and awareness to the arts in London.

"Inspired by the smash hit million selling albums DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS ONE, TWO and THREE, the West End's DREAMBOATS AND PETTICOATS THE MUSICAL, features some of the greatest hit songs of the Rock 'n' Roll era."

Playing at The Playhouse on Northumberland Avenue, Dreamboats and Petticoats features some of the biggest rock 'n' roll hits from the 50's.

Access @ The Playhouse:

The Foyer of The Playhouse is on two levels - there are three steps up to the bar area and entrance to the stalls. The theatre has a ramp that can be placed over these steps to allow access for both wheelchairs and scooters (although be warned, it is a little steep!). Once on the upper level, there is access to the Foyer Bar and an accessible WC. From here there is level access into the rear of the stalls, which has a gentle rake and a storage area for wheelchairs and scooters if you can transfer out.

If you require a wheelchair space, there are 2 in the stalls, in rows G and J, where a companion/carer can sit with you. If you can transfer, then there is allocation for 6 wheelchair or scooter transfers per performance to sit in any aisle seat in the stalls (subject to availability of course).

The Playhouse is installed with a Sennheiser infra-red sound amplification system that is available in all areas of the auditorium - to access the system, you will need to request receiving equipment from the box office in the foyer (small refundable deposit required) - both Induction Loop Necklaces and Headsets are available.

Assistance dogs are permitted into the auditorium at aisle seats, otherwise they can be looked after by staff during the performance. Currently, there are no audio described or captioned performances at The Playhouse.

There are performances of Dreamboats and Petticoats Monday-Friday Evenings at 7.30pm and Saturday Evenings at 8.00pm. There are also matinee performances on Thursdays at 3.00pm and on Saturdays at 4.00pm.

To book concession Access tickets to Dreamboats and Petticoats, please call: The Ambassador's dedicated Access Line on 0844 871 7677. For all other ticket types, please call: 0844 871 7627.

Access London recently had the pleasure of interviewing cast member Patrick Burbridge. We'd like to take this opportunity to once again say a huge Thank You to Patrick for taking the time to answer some questions...

AL: Dreamboats and Petticoats is a lively, fun and upbeat show, what is it like to be part of the cast?
PB: It's an absolute pleasure to be a part of such a great show. I've been in Dreamboats and Petticoats since it started way back in January 2009 and I've never stopped loving it. I've seen lots of different people come and go during my time as part of the cast and I've had the pleasure of working with some very talented performers. It's a real privilege to be in such a well received show.

AL: You play a character called Derek - can you tell us a bit more about him and his part in the story?
PB: Derek is a young teenager from St Mungo's Youth Club in Essex (scene of Dreamboats and Petticoats). He's either hanging out with the band, chatting up the girls, playing pranks and usually getting up to some form of mischief!

AL: You can play many instruments including, guitar, piano, sax and drums - what is your favourite instrument to play and why?
PB: My favourite instrument is the guitar. I've grown up listening to all sorts of rock music and from a young age I've always been obsessed with the guitar. I get a real thrill from playing guitar in bands and jamming great music. I also like to write my own music and I find the guitar is a great instrument to compose on.

AL: Do you get to use any of your instrument playing skills in the show?
PB: Absolutely. I'm an understudy for all three guitarists and the drummer so if they can't do a show for any reason, then it's my job to fill in for them. I've understudied in lots of shows during my time in Dreamboats and Petticoats. My usual role playing Derek also involves playing Keyboard.

AL: The Playhouse Theatre is a smaller venue than many West End theatres, does this allow you to feel more connected to the audience when performing?
PB: I think so, yes. Dreamboats and Petticoats is a rock and roll show, so I think it works best in smaller venues. This is because smaller venues are great for live music, you can create such a great atmosphere with rock and roll. It's much harder to create that atmosphere in bigger theatres because there is, quite simply, way more space to fill - you have to connect with audience members right at the back who seem almost miles away! There's also a limit to how loud you can turn up the music. You don't want to be deafening the front row by trying to make sure the back row have it at a decent level. Everyone watching should feel comfortable and be able to enjoy the performance.

AL: What is your favourite song/scene to perform in the show?
PB: My favourite part of the show is the finale. At this point, the show stops being a musical and turns into a rock and roll concert with 3 fantastic 50's hits. Usually, all the audience are up and dancing and the atmosphere can be really electric. I get such a buzz when I look out at the audience singing and dancing along. There's a real unification between the cast and the audience at the end of each show, both rejoicing in the love of such wonderful music. I've never experienced anything quite like it and I'm so fortunate to be a part of that night after night.

AL: How do you prepare yourself before performing?
PB: Before a show the cast meets on stage and does a physical and vocal warm up together. The physical warm up, led by our dance captain, consists of doing lots of stretches to prevent injuries when dancing and perhaps running a couple of routines to keep everything in check. The vocal warm up, led by our musical director, consists of singing lots of scales, exercises and sometimes a couple of numbers from the show. This warms up the voice and makes sure that you don't strain it during the show. There are over 40 songs to sing after all! Emotionally, I like to get really psyched up before a show. I share a dressing room with 5 other guys and we all enjoy a good bit of banter and listening to some quite upbeat music. It's a good, positive and fun atmosphere that gets me geared up well to do the show, particularly if I'm a little tired or feeling a bit under the weather.

AL: Can you sum up why audiences will love the show?
PB: People don't refer to the 50's as the 'golden age of pop' for nothing. There was a real plethora of fantastic songs written back then and performed by some incredible artists and singers. Not only does Dreamboats and Petticoats bring all this music back to life, it sets it all within the magical nostalgia of the 50's. The storyline of children growing up in a youth club in Essex will bring back great memories for many people. The innocence of youth, coupled with the charm and love from a bygone era proves to be a wonderful platform for some of the greatest music ever written. Even if you didn't live through the 50's, I think the joy in the music is so infectious that you can't fail to have a good time.

AL: If you could play any role in musical theatre, what would it be?
PB: If ever a musical is made of Back To The Future, I'd do anything to be in it! It's my favourite film of all time.

You can follow Patrick on Twitter @patburbridge

COMING SOON: The Globe, Victoria & Albert Museum, The Lion In Winter, More from Phantom 25 and Interviews


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  2. I went to see it Dreamboats and Petticoats 2 weeks ago with my boyfriend and I loved it...he didn't like it cuz he's the action movie type he hates theatres but Im the one who wear the pants! lool Anyway Dreamboats and Petticoats is a must see Musical! I found their facebook page and joined it straight away even tho there are quite a lot...Im planning to see The wizard of Oz this month xx

  3. Thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed the show and hope you enjoy your trip to Oz. I posted about Oz a few months ago, you can see it and cast interviews with Sophie Evans and Paul Keating via the links below - although I will be updating the access info for this theatre after a recent trip there shortly!