Fine display by talented cast

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AT first glance, the plot for Save The Last Dance For Me (at the Theatre Royal, Nottingham) seems almost absurdly simple; a typical jukebox musical with a slender story filling in between some 35 songs.

But as this show from the stable of Dreamboats and Petticoats unfolds, it is soon apparent that there is much more to it.

It follows two teenage sisters from Luton through the summer of 1963, when, for the first time without their parents, they embark on a seaside holiday – a caravan at Lowestoft.

It rains a lot, which rules out the beach and there is not much else to do until they meet a handsome young American, based at the local US Air Force base in the final year before it was handed over to the RAF.

His speciality is inviting young holidaymaking girls over to a base dance, “featuring Elvis” (although he turns out to be the drummer) and then repeating the procedure with new targets the following week.

But this time, it’s different, as 17-year-old Marie (Megan Jones) falls head-over-heels for Curtis (Jason Denton). Parental disapproval will be inevitable, particularly as Curtis is from the Deep South, with all its racial undertones.

Her sister Jennifer (Hannah Frederick) finds romance with Italian ice-cream vendor Carlo from Wolverhampton and here Graham Weaver combines an outrageous West Midlands accent with a beautiful singing voice.

And herein lies the specialty. Save The Last Dance For Me celebrates, in the man, the songs of Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman - A Teenager In Love, Sweets for My Sweet, Can’t Get Used to Losing You, Viva Las Vegas, Surrender and so on with a few other numbers from the era (Please, Mr Postman etc) thrown in and what an undemanding fun evening it becomes, with fine vocal supporting performances from A.J.Dea and Tosh Wanogho-Maud.

There is a splendid finale with a lovely, choral version of the title song without musical accompaniment and a rousing Way Down Yonder In New Orleans to round off a fine evening’s entertainment from a talented young cast.