Sunday 30 December 2012

The Nutcracker at the London Coliseum

On the evening of Saturday 29th December 2012 I attended a traditional London Christmas performance of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. My festive destination was the London Coliseum for the English National Ballet's production of this timeless classic.

A combination of Wayne Eagling's choreography and Peter Farmer's designs brought us the magic of Christmas while showing a darker version with the threatening presence of the Mouse King being felt throughout the ballet until finally good triumphs over evil. The Orchestra of English National Ballet played beautifully at this historic London Theatre while Tamara Rojo as Clara and Esteban Berlanga as the Nephew were outstanding. Tamara Rojo is in her first season as Artistic Director of English National Ballet.

The audience at the London Coliseum were taken on a journey back in time with the English National Ballet to a frost-covered, gas lit world with Clara, her Nutcracker doll and the mysterious Drosselmeyer in this traditional, festive tale full of Edwardian elegance. On Christmas Eve under the candlelit tree Clara battles with the Mouse King and falls in love with a handsome Prince. As the snowflakes begin to fall Clara and her Nutcracker take a balloon ride across the frosty skyline to the Land of Snow where her adventure really begins.

This was a magical and memorable treat not to be missed and showed us all the magic of Christmas combined with wonderful ballet and music. The setting was perfect as we were all enchanted by this perfect festive story. Christmas is not complete without The Nutcracker.

The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre

On Saturday 29th December 2012 I attended the matinee performance of The Phantom of the Opera at Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End. This incredible musical from Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber is based on the novel Le Fantome de l'Opera by Gaston Leroux.

The Phantom of the Opera opens in Paris in 1911 at an auctioning of the contents of the Paris Opera House. The contents include a fabulous chandelier in which the auctioneer proceeds to tell the story of the legend of the Phantom of the Opera. Suddenly you are transported back a time when the Paris Opera House was at the height of its powers.

At that time, the opera house is, claimed by many, to be inhabited by a ghost. If this ghost is in anyway offended or annoyed then he will cause mayhem in the opera house. The ghost or phantom then decides to help a lowly chorus girl, Christine Daae by giving her music lessons through the wall of her dressing room. He pretends to be the spirit of her dead father and as a result of this she becomes a talented singer who is then thrust into the limelight.

This phantom worships Christine and is determined to make her a star. He demands that the opera house management cast her in a starring role in the new opera Il Muto but the manager, Raoul refuses to do so. As a result of this the phantom, angered by this refusal decides to cause chaos in the opera house. He is chased but manages to evade capture by causing a fabulous chandelier to crash to the ground.

Later on, we see the Grand Masquerade Ball. Six months have passed since the Phantom’s last appearance and people have started to think that he has gone forever. In that time, Raoul and Christine have become engaged which causes the Phantom to return in a fit of jealous rage.

He makes new demands of the management and tries to win back the affection of Christine but she is committed to Raoul who she loves deeply. In a confrontation, the Phantom demands that Christine comes back to him or Raoul will die.

There were brilliant performances from Marcus Lovett as The Phantom, Sofia Escobar as Christine Daae and Simon Thomas as Raoul as a packed Her Majesty's Theatre enjoyed a Christmas treat in London's West End. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s mesmerising score along with the fantastic scenery and breathtaking special effects, magically combined to bring this tragic love story to life.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Red Balloon Christmas Carol Concert

On Tuesday 18th December 2012 I attended the Norwich Red Balloon Learner Centre Christmas Carol Concert at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. The concert featured a number of traditional Christmas carols interspersed with readings from Norwich based poet Pete Goodrum, Ejike Ndaji of Overbury's Solicitors, local television personality Julie Reinger, Red Balloon founder and chief executive Dr. Carrie Herbert MBE and Norwich Red Balloon students.

The programme of Christmas carols consisted of Once in Royal David's City, O come all ye faithful, See amid the winter's snow, Away in a manger, While shepherd's watched, Unto us is born a son, Silent night, In the bleak mid winter, O little town of Bethlehem, Hark! the herald angels sing and Chorale Prelude In Dulce Jubilo Fantasia - Bach.

The ethos of Red Balloon is to provide a safe environment for young people who are not able to attend mainstream school as a result of the severe bullying they have experienced. This was a wonderful and moving concert at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich with inspiring readings and splendid singing to mark the festive season. While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground. The angel of the Lord came down and glory shone around.

UEA Christmas concert at St. John's Cathedral

On Thursday 13th December 2012 I went to the St. John The Baptist RC Cathedral, Norwich for the UEA Christmas concert which featured a 140 strong choir singing well loved community carols with opportunities for audience participation. The choir were conducted by Tom Primrose with William Fergusson on piano and Kris Thomsett on organ.

In the first half of the concert the choir sang Joy to the world, Quem pastores laudavere, Coventry carol, Past three o clock, I wonder as I wander and Sussex carol. There was also audience participation with O come all ye faithful, While shepherds watched their flocks and See amid the winter's snow.

After an interval of wonderful refreshments in the Norfolk Room the choir sang Ding dong merrily on high, The shepherds' farewell, In the bleak mid-winter, Sans Day carol, The twelve days of Christmas and Sir Christemas. There was also audience participation with O little town of Bethlehem, We three kings of Orient are, Away in a manger and Hark the herald-angels sing.

There was a brilliant festive atmosphere at St. John's Cathedral as the UEA Choir thrilled us with a feast of Christmas favourites. Hark! the herald-angels sing. Glory to the new-born King. This was a night which really raised the roof.

Monday 24 December 2012

St. Gregory's Orchestra's Christmas Concert

On the afternoon of Sunday 9th December 2012 I attended the St. Gregory's Orchestra's Christmas Concert in aid of Nelson's Journey which featured Wensum Valley Brass at the United Reformed Church, Princes Street, Norwich. The St. Gregory's Orchestra were conducted by Martin Wyatt with Alison Mills as Leader. Eric Franklin was Co-ordinator of Wensum Valley Brass.

The programme consisted of Orchestral Suite, Iolanthe - Arthur Sullivan and Concerto in B flat for Bassoon - Mozart from the St. Gregory's Orchestra. After an interval of coffee and chocolate biscuits Wensum Valley Brass performed Sarabande - Grieg, Wedding Day - Grieg, Cantate Domino - Pitoni, Pilgrim's Chorus - Wagner, Earl of Salisbury's Pavane - Byrd, Canzona 13 - Gabrieli, O Holy Night - Adam, Just a Closer Walk - Arr. by Don Gillis, Amazing Grace - Arr. Luther Henderson, Coventry Carol O leave your sheep - arr. Patrick Rivers and March for a Pageant - Cook.

This was time for the St. Gregory's Orchestra to have some Christmas fun as they thrilled and entertained us with Arthur Sullivan's Iolanthe but some of the orchestra found Gilbert's words irresistible and felt obliged to burst into song. Eleanor Skeate was soloist for Mozart's Concerto in B flat for Bassoon which was his first concerto for a wind instrument.

Wensum Valley Brass were originally a small group formed by members of the brass section of the Norwich City Concert Band. The group have been part of the evening street entertainment for the Lord Mayor's weekend. This was the first time they had appeared in formal concert format.

This was a wonderful afternoon of music at the United Reformed Church, Princes Street, Norwich which helped to raise money for Nelson's Charity which is for children and young people who need help and support to deal with losing a loved one. Well done to both the St. Gregory's Orchestra and Wensum Valley Brass.

Sunday 23 December 2012

Four Sea Interludes at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich

On the evening of Saturday 8th December 2012 I attended the Norwich Philharmonic Orchestra's concert at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich which featured conductor Matthew Andrews and pianist Richard Uttley. The programme consisted of Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes - Britten, Piano Concerto No.2 - Rachmaninov and Symphony No.7 - Dvorak.

Benjamin Britten's Four Sea Interludes composed in 1945 is from his opera, Peter Grimes, which captures the unique spirit of the composer's beloved East Coast. This performance formed part of Familiar Fields a celebration across Norfolk and Suffolk of Britten's life and music in his centenary year. The Sea Interludes were developed from the six orchestral pieces that introduce the acts and link scenes in the opera. Besides being evocative portraits of the sea at different times of day and in different weather conditions, they are also psychological studies that chronicle the dramatic confrontation between Grimes and the townspeople of Aldeburgh, where the drama is set.

Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 is one of the most popular pieces in the classical repertoire. Brilliant young pianist Richard Uttley took on the epic challenge of this great romantic masterpiece, which film fans will recognise as the emotional soundtrack to Brief Encounter. This piece was composed in 1900 after the composer recovered from a period of depression.

Dvorak's Symphony No.7 was written for the London Philharmonic Society in 1884 and was a wild success at its premiere with its showcase of sweet melodies and dramatic orchestral flourishes. This piece fulfilled his apparent aim to prove himself more then a purely nationalist composer.

This was a wonderful concert at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich which included the performance of Four Sea Interludes as a tribute to Benjamin Britten in his centenary year. Richard Uttley played a splendid Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No.2 while Dvorak's Symphony No.7 was a brilliant finish to the concert.

Saturday 22 December 2012

One Man, Two Guvnors at Norwich Theatre Royal

On Saturday 8th December 2012 I attended the matinee performance at Norwich Theatre Royal of the National Theatre on Tour's One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean which is based on The Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Golgoni. This comedy with songs by Grant Olding was a complete sell out at Norwich Theatre Royal as the audience had an afternoon of laugh out louds.

Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe but Roscoe is really Rachel, posing as her own dead brother who's been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with one Stanley Stubbers. To prevent discovery Francis must keep his two guvnors apart. It's that simple or that's what it seems.

One Man, Two Guvnors is a glorious celebration of British comedy with a unique mix of satire, songs, slapstick and glittering one-liners. Rufus Hound was brilliant and funny in his role as Francis Henshall as he tried to carry out the instructions from both his Guvnors on the south coast in Brighton. The Craze played songs between scenes including The Brighton Line which added to a fine afternoon's entertainment at Norwich Theatre Royal.

Friday 21 December 2012

Jane Eyre Volume II at the UEA Drama Studio

On Friday 7th December 2012 I was back at the UEA Drama Studio for Jane Eyre Volume II. After attending Volume I on Tuesday evening I was eagerly looking forward to the second part of the UEA third year drama students unique adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel.

Volume II is the story of a traumatised Jane found homeless and vagrant, wandering across the moors and trying to run away from her troubled past. Heartbroken and alone, she stumbles across the Rivers’ house where she attempts to forget the love she has lost and the pain she has suffered. But what is it that happened at Thornfield? Who is this character, St John, who appears to have such an interest in Jane? And will she ever find a way to be reunited with her true love?

This was another wonderful evening to be in attendance at the UEA Drama Studio as yet again the audience were taken to the harsh world that Jane Eyre would have had to face. Dark and funny with added original music, the play incorporated dreams, flashbacks and delusions which made for a very interesting performance. "I am not an angel," I asserted; "and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself."

Jane Eyre Volume I at the UEA Drama Studio

On Tuesday 4th December 2012 I attended the UEA's third year Drama students adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre Volume I at the UEA Drama Studio in Norwich. This was the first part of a two part adaptation which reinvented the traditional period drama with a large ensemble cast bringing together original music, dance and a brand new script.

Volume I follows Jane Eyre, a young girl who comes from nothing but wants to seize all that life can offer. Surviving her bleak childhood through strength, determination and a keen spirit, Jane begins working as a Governess at the mysterious Thornfield Hall. Here she finds the love and comfort she has always longed for in the shape of her master, Mr Rochester. But Thornfield hides a dark secret and Jane is forced to choose between her beliefs and her chance of happiness.

I found the play very enjoyable and experimental. This is a dark adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic novel. We were taken to the world of Jane Eyre and were able to sense the harsh reality that she would have had to face. I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

Thursday 20 December 2012

Preparing for Christmas at St. Peter Mancroft

On Saturday 1st December 2012 I attended the Mancroft Music Autumn Recital Preparing for Christmas at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich. This event was part of Familiar Fields, celebrating Benjamin Britten's life and music in Norfolk and Suffolk. Performing were Julian Haggett - organ, Rhian Hanson - harp, Jody Butler - director. The Girls' Choir, Choral Scholars and Organ Scholars.

The programme consisted of Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist BuxWV 209 - Buxtehude, Creator of the stars of night - Mode iv melody arr. John Scott, Long ago prophets knew - Piae Cantiones arr. Malcolm Archer, How beautiful upon the mountains - John Stainer, Lift up your heads, O ye gates - William Mathias, Chancon dans la Nuit - Salzedo, Corpus Christi Carol - Britten, King Herod and the Cock - Britten, Praeludium in F - Lubeck, Nocturne from Suite for Organ - Clucas and A Ceremony of Carols - Britten.

This was a splendid concert at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich which took place the day before Advent Sunday, the beginning of the season of Advent, when we prepare for the coming of the Lord at Christmas, and ultimately the 'end of time'. The highlight was Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols which has become a tradition to be performed at St. Peter Mancroft to mark the start of Advent.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Labyrinth of Love at Norwich Theatre Royal

On Friday 30th November 2012 I attended the Rambert Dance Company's performance of the Labyrinth of Love at Norwich Theatre Royal. This is a brand new work by Irish choreographer Marguerite Donlon which is both heart-breaking and humorous. Her Rambert debut is a collaboration with one of America's most performed contemporary composers, Grammy award-winning Michael Daugherty, and includes designs from the visual artist Mat Collishaw, and set and costume designer Conor Murphy.

Rambert Dance Company also performed Monolith, L'Apres-midi d'un faune and What Wild Ecstasy at Norwich Theatre Royal on a night of brilliant dance which celebrated Mark Baldwin's ten years at the helm. Sarah Gabriel was soprano for the Labyrinth of Love which is inspired by love poetry and prose written by or about women spanning over two thousand years from Sappho to Elizabeth Taylor.

The Rambert Dance Company perform without boundaries which both challenges and entertains the audience. This was an evening of world class contemporary dance full of technique and artistry. The Rambert Orchestra provided the soundtrack to the wonderful diverse and beautiful dancing on stage.

Monday 17 December 2012

LSO and Kavakos at The Barbican

After an afternoon in London's West End on Sunday 25th November 2012 I made my way to The Barbican to attend the London Symphony Orchestra's UBS Soundscapes concert featuring violinist Leonidas Kavakos. Semyon Bychkov conducted the orchestra in a programme that consisted of Violin Concerto - Berg and Symphony No.1 Titan - Mahler.

Berg's Violin Concerto was written in 1935. It is probably his best-known and most frequently performed instrumental piece. The concerto is structured in two movements, each further divided into two sections. The Concerto was written as a memorial "to an angel" upon the premature death of Alma Mahler's daughter Manon Gropius.

Mahler began his First Symphony in his late twenties. Incorporating themes from his earlier song cycles, this monumental score charts a young hero’s coming of age. It retains a youthful energy, but explores suffering and sorrow, and ends by defying the mundane and insisting on life’s joy. This piece reached it's definitive four movement form in 1896.

This was a concert full of energy with the LSO and Leonidas Kavakos playing Berg's Violin Concerto with lots of enthusiasm and emotion. After the interval Semyon Bychkov led the LSO in an absolute brilliant performance of Mahler's Symphony No.1. There was a great atmosphere with lots of applause at the end on another memorable night at The Barbican.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Matilda The Musical brings fun to the West End

I was back in London's West End on Sunday 25th November 2012 when I attended the matinee performance of Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre. This musical was written by Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. There was a wonderful atmosphere at a sold out theatre to see this winner of a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards in 2012, the show has also won five Best Musical awards since its opening when it received 5-star reviews across the board.

Roald Dahl's much-loved story of Matilda bursts into life on stage in this brand new musical version where children and adults alike will be thrilled and delighted by the story of the special little girl with an extraordinary imagination. Matilda's parents think she is a nuisance and she thinks, quite rightly, they are only interested in watching telly. Life is not much better at school, where the monstrous headmistress Miss Trunchbull terrifies both students and teachers alike. Then one day Matilda discovers she has a very special power and decides it's time the grown-ups were taught a lesson. Be warned, the children are revolting...

This is a fun musical with lots of catchy songs like Naughty, When I Grow Up, The Smell of Rebellion and Revolting Children. There was lots of action on stage as the magic of Roald Dahl was brought to life. This is a story of standing up to bullying by rebellion and protest. Everyone in the audience and on stage had a great time with included lots of laughs for all ages.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty Magic!

Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty arrived at Norwich Theatre Royal in November as New Adventures' 25th Anniversary celebrations in 2012 culminated in the world premiere of Matthew Bourne's latest re-imagining of an iconic and beloved ballet classic. Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty sees the choreographer return to the music of Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer's ballet masterworks.

I attended the matinee performance on Saturday 24th November 2012 as Matthew Bourne's gothic fairy tale brought the magic of Tchaikovsky to Norwich Theatre Royal. Perrault's timeless fairy tale about a young girl cursed to sleep for one hundred years, was turned into a ballet by Marius Petipa in 1890. Matthew Bourne takes this as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora in the year of the ballet's first performance. This was a period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination.

As Aurora grows into a young woman we move forward to a mythical golden age of long summer afternoons, cricket and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day. This haunting new scenario creates a supernatural love story across the decades, that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder.

This was a magical afternoon at Norwich Theatre Royal as once again Matthew Bourne has done something different and unique to a traditional classic ballet. There was lots of fun in this tale of good versus evil as Sleeping Beauty was turned into a gothic tales for all ages.

UEA Symphony Orchestra celebrate Britten


On Friday 23rd November 2012 I attended the UEA Symphony Orchestra's Britten Centenary Celebration Concert at St. Andrew's Hall, Norwich with two unfinished masterpieces being performed. The orchestra were conducted by Sharon Andrea Choa. Soloists were Simon Smith - violin and Paul Silverthorne - viola. The programme consisted of Double Concerto for Violin, Viola and Orchestra in B minor - Britten and Symphony No.3 - Elgar/Payne.

Britten wrote the Double Concerto at the age of 18 but never realised the orchestral parts, nor sought to have it performed. The work only received its premiere in 1997, after completion by Colin Matthews. Anthony Payne (UEA’s Composer in Residence) had a great deal less material to work with – no score, but 130 pages of sketches – when he set out to complete Elgar’s unfinished 3rd Symphony, which also received its first performance in 1997, to great acclaim, at the BBC Proms.

This was a wonderful evening at St. Andrew's Hall to celebrate the centenary of Benjamin Britten which included a brilliant performance of his Double Concerto for Violin, Viola and Orchestra. Anthony Payne was in attendance with Elgar's Symphony No.3 being performed. This piece finishes on a fade out ending, with a ghostly echo of the symphony's opening in the very last bars. Payne took this cue from The Waggons Passes, from Elgar's 1930 Nursery Suite.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Netsky at Norwich Waterfront

On the evening of Monday 19th November 2012 I attended the Netsky Live! gig at Norwich Waterfront with support from Ayah Marar. There was a great atmosphere at this sold out event as Belgian Boris Daenen brought his trademark liquid drum’n’bass euphoria to Norwich putting us all in a happy mood. This was a night to throw your arms into the air and just enjoy the music.

The name Netsky is based on the computer virus of the same name which we all got infected with at Norwich Waterfront. He played lots from his new album, 2 which was well appreciated at this brilliant gig. The highlight of his set was Everyday which capped an amazing night.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Kidsuke at Norwich Arts Centre

Kidsuke brought us a night of electro treats along with Jealousguy, Maersk and The Boy With Two Heads on Saturday 17th November 2012 at Norwich Arts Centre. This was another Spectro event to get us moving on the dance floor.

Kidsuke is a collaborative project between the UK’s Kidkanevil and Japan’s Daisuke Tanabe. DJ/Producer Kidkanevil first came to prominence with the release of his critically acclaimed debut album ‘Problems and Solutions’ back in 2007, and has since gone from strength to strength.

Described by Bonobo as “like the best moments of RJD2 and Timbaland combined…incredible!” and “a sonic visionary” by iDJ, the kid has earned the praise and respect of numerous peers and journalists, counting the likes of DJ Shadow and Wire Magazine amongst his fans, and progressives Tokimonsta, Blue Daisy and Illum Sphere amongst his contemporaries.

Now three albums deep his latest offering ‘Basho Basho’ “deserves to put Kidkanevil right up there with Flying Lotus” (Knowledge Magazine) and sees him riding into town like a hi-tec hunter-gatherer, spearing, chopping and mixing beats in his own unique style.

This was a fun night at Norwich Arts Centre with Kidsuke bringing us DJ Shadow influenced beats. There was a brilliant atmosphere created at the venue as Kidsuke took us on an amazing electronica journey. This was progressive music at it's best. Well done Spectro on another successful event.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Big Screen Recital at St. Peter Mancroft

On Saturday 17th November 2012 I attended the Julian Haggett Big Screen Organ Recital at St. Peter Mancroft Church, Norwich as part of the Mancroft Music Recital Series. The Big Screen was sponsored by Merge Bar and Restaurant.

The programme consisted of Praeludium in g BuxWV 149 - Buxtehude, Nun komm der Heiland BWV 599, Gottes Sohn ist kommen BWV 600, Herr Christ der ein'ge Gottes-Sohn BWV 601, Lob sei dem allmachitigen Gott BWV 602 - Bach, Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott BuxWV 199 - Buxtehude, Nun komm der Heiden Heiland BWV 659, Wachet Auf! BWV 645 - Bach, Motet coloration: Dixit maria and angelum - Scheidemann and Prelude and Fugue BWV 543 - Bach.

Julian Haggett became a star of the big screen at St. Peter Mancroft Church as we were entertained with a recital of splendid organ music. Mancroft Music's Recitals are always a wonderful way for the people of Norwich to experience this historic city centre church along with beautiful music.

Monday 3 December 2012

St. Gregory's Orchestra's Remembrance Day Concert

On the afternoon of Sunday 11th November 2012 I attended the St. Gregory's Orchestra's Remembrance Day Concert at Princes Street United Reformed Church, Norwich. The orchestra were conducted by Martin Wyatt with Alison Mills as Leader. Soloists were Kevin O'Regan and Beverley McInnes.

The programme consisted of The Warsaw Concerto - Addinsell, Crisantemi - Puccini, Roses of Picardy - Wood/Weatherly, Movements from Czech Suite - Dvorak and Symphony No.5 - Tchaikovsky. The concert was given in aid of Princes Street United Reformed Church, which faces large bills for essential repairs and maintenance. This beautiful building is not just a place of worship but also home to numerous local organisations.

There was a very nice atmosphere at the venue as the St. Gregory's Orchestra played a wonderful programme of music. From The Warsaw Concerto which evoked memories of the 1940's to Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 Martin Wyatt conducted the orchestra splendidly. Refreshments were served in the coffee bar during the interval.

Dreamboats and Petticoats at Ipswich Regent

On Saturday 10th November 2012 I caught the train to Ipswich to attend the matinee performance of Dreamboats and Petticoats at Ipswich Regent Theatre. This is a jukebox musical built around songs from the late 1950's and early 1960's. A brilliant feelgood show. Bobby and Laura were played by Scott Haining and Elizabeth Carter.

It's 1961, where Bobby, an awkward but talented teenager, is auditioning for a band at the local Youth Club. He almost gets the part, but is edged out by a last minute arrival to the auditions: the cool and confident Norman. The teenagers that hang out at Youth Club all know each other, even if they're not necessarily friends. These teens include Bobby and his best friend Ray, Ray's younger sister Laura who has a crush on Bobby, cool girl Sue whom Bobby has a crush on, and Donna, who is Sue's friend.

Bobby's father announces that the Youth Club association is holding the first National song writing competition. Bobby and Laura, who have similar tastes in music, agree to write a song together. At first they make some progress, with Bobby coming up with an idea and basic tune, which Laura takes on to expand into a full song. But Bobby then starts ignoring Laura when Sue, the girl he has a crush on, starts flirting with him. Laura warns Bobby that Sue is only pretending to be into him in order to make Norman jealous, but Bobby doesn't care.

The Youth Club are taken on a road trip to a local carnival, and there emotions run high. Ray and Donna get together and become a couple. Sue's plan to make Norman jealous works, and Norman takes her away to be alone. Bobby is crushed, and Laura tells him "I told you so". However, when the whole group gathers together at the end of night, Norman boasts to the others that he went "all the way" with Sue. Sue is enraged and humiliated, insisting that they only kissed. Bobby confronts Norman, insisting that he apologies to Sue. At first Norman refuses, so Bobby challenges Norman to an "official" fight in a ring, in which Bobby wins. Norman apologises to Sue, and Sue is ecstatically grateful to Bobby and happily becomes his girl.

Laura tries to remind Bobby about their songwriting commitment but to no avail, since all his time is dedicated to Sue. Norman is also being ignored by Sue, even after apologising and promising to become better. Norman then approaches Laura, both flirting with her with suggestions that what he really needs is a "good" girl, and that they should write a song together. Bobby is confused and upset when he hears about this from Ray, who also tells Bobby that Laura has had feelings for him for a long time. Bobby and Sue break up when Bobby accidentally causes Sue to fall out his bedroom window, but when he approaches Laura to reconcile, she claims that he only started to notice her because she's started dressing nicer and doing her hair.

Laura's 16th birthday party is held at the Youth Club. She and Sue decide to put the awkwardness between them to the past, and agree to be friends. Norman and Sue reconcile. Bobby and Laura confess their feelings in the locker room, admitting that they've each liked the other for a long time and didn't know what to do about it, and finally kiss.

News comes in from the songwriting competition. Bobby and Laura, who are a team again, have made it to the next round. Norman did not make the cut at all. It then jumps to the final National performance, where Bobby and Laura win with the results of the joint efforts, the pop song "Dreamboats and Petticoats".

It was a wonderful afternoon at Ipswich Regent Theatre as we were all treated to a load of great songs like Let's Dance, Dream Baby Dream, It's Only Make Believe, Great Pretender, Let's Twist Again and C'mon Everybody. At the end of the performance everyone was singing and dancing along to the songs as the Regent became one big celebration of the Sixties.