Our 'Dreamboats and Petticoats' tickets were purchased some time ago as a birthday treat for my daughter -- when I heard subsequently that Fran would be in the cast, it was a massive bonus.
All I knew of the show was that it featured myriad musical numbers from the 50s and 60s and although this was before my time, I was surprised just how many I recognised.
'Dreamboats' is basically a parade of feelgood songs linked together by a heart-warming plot. Rose-tinted nostalgia is the order of the day -- the female leads are Laura, Donna and Sue, handy for slipping in a few name-checking songs no?
Fran plays the part of the vampish Sue, the girl with a reputation who deep down just wants to be loved. I'm not exaggerating in any way when I say that she stole the show.
Whilst Sue is onstage in most acts, she only has one solo and a couple of duets, my personal favourite being 'Shakin' All Over'. It's a demanding role and having only seen Fran on IDA, I really had no idea what to expect.
All I'm going to say is that certain TV shows can become more of a popularity than a talent contest. And Fran has talent in spades. You'd have sworn she'd been in this part for years.
She is the complete package -- a superb dancer, an actor with boundless enthusiasm who injected tremendous fun into the part and above all an astonishingly soulful voice that deserves to be heard much more than it was tonight.
'Dreamboats' is a slick, highly enjoyable show with a really great cast. I'd recommend it to anyone with even a passing love of the rock & roll years, but I'd particularly recommend it if a certain Fran Jackson is in the cast. She was fantastic tonight and on the basis of this showing I've absolutely no doubt she would have made an excellent Nancy.
Go and see 'Dreamboats' and judge for yourself.