It’s the start of the swinging Sixties, and emotions are running high as young musicians compete to win a national songwriting competition in Dreamboats and Petticoats, which swirls into the Kings Theatre, Southsea, from Monday until Saturday.
And a pop star from the era will take to the stage with the cast as Mark Wynter plays Phil Croft. The actor had four Top 20 singles in the 1960s including Venus In Blue Jeans and Go Away Little Girl.
Mark says: ‘I never knew nostalgia could be so big. I play the father who runs the youth club and has a son who’s an aspiring singer and songwriter. It reminds me of my early days.
‘It’s like I’ve come full circle. I spent time in a couple of youth clubs, like my son Bobby in the play.’
Dreamboats and Petticoats follows Bobby as he tries to get the attention of Sue, but he soon discovers that shy Laura is no slouch on the piano.
Mark explains: ‘There are a lot of young people involved who are wonderfully talented. It’s a difficult situation for their characters, but they manage to sort it out.’
The show features songs from Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Billy Fury and Eddie Cochran. And Mark is particularly pleased that some of his own songs are in there.
He says: ‘There’s three of my own recordings from the 1960s which is nice because I haven’t sang them on tour for about 40 years. It’s a nice way of reminding me about my early life.
‘Music from the 1960s is simple, and that’s why everyone loves it. We can relate to them, and everything they need to say, they say.’
And Mark isn’t new to the area as he appeared at the Kings Theatre about 10 years ago when he played Daddy Warbucks in Annie. He even had one of his early summer seasons at the Southsea Pier Theatre, which is no longer there.
He says: ‘It’s like a 10-year reunion for me coming back. I remember how beautiful the theatre was and it had just been refurbished. I also live just the other side of Chichester, so it’s close for me.’
Tickets: £24 to £28 from the Kings Theatre, Southsea, on (023) 9282 8282 or go to kings-southsea.com.