T'S a tale of love and rock 'n' roll and it's back at the 'Royal' with a great cast headed by a man with a great voice, Ali Higgins, writes Paul Thomas.

The Guide talked to Ali as he lines up to strut his stuff and launch those vocal gymnastics in one of the Theatre Royal Windsor's most popular shows, Dreamboats and Petticoats.

Ali, 26, was born and bred in Guernsey, attending the island's grammar as he says "dad was a teacher at the other school", before launching a fledgling career at just 15 in The Who's Tommy while at the Guernsey Studio Theatre in 2006.

Ali told The Guide: "I was very, very lucky growing up where I was, the only downside was that there was no professional theatre.

"I left for London's Mountview Academy of Theatre in Wood Green and it was great for musical theatre."

Elaine Paige is a patron of the academy while Dame Judi Dench is its president.

Ali added: "It provides a huge cast list for West End musicals and drama, but musical theatre is my passion, it's my love, especially Sondheim.

"After graduating in 2012, I ended up playing in bands and did some acting, but ended up in Nashville, Tennessee in a band called Havilland, which was unexpected. It was one of the best times of my life, and it spurred me on to find more acting roles in musical theatre."

Ali toured last year playing a number of roles in Shadowlands, the drama based on the latter life of Narnia creator CS Lewis, but this tour of Dreamboats, which started in January, is his first full tour with a musical and, of course, it's a production from 'Royal' owner, impresario, Bill Kenwright.

He said: "I had auditioned for Bill before and got a call from my agent to to go and see him. In the end I auditioned for him four times, the last of which I had to sing in front of him at his offices in Maida Vale, London, and I sang Only the Lonely, by Roy Orbison.

"It was nerve-wracking, but Bill was very, very nice and very friendly. Now I've been touring since January and I'm just shy of 200 performances.

"I absolutely love the show, whether it's a new audience to the musical or they all know it and dance, sing and do all the moves in the aisles."

Ali has a high baritone voice so his range is gifted to the 50s and 60s genre of songs which demand so much from a vocalist. The graft between highs, lows, sharps and flats can exhaust a singer with less range - in a four part choir, Ali's voice could drift between fairly low bass and into the second tenors quite easily.

"Musical theatre is normally made for tenors, so it's nice to have the range," said Ali.

"I'm very lucky and I'm continually trying to experiment and explore, I've got a lot of learning to do. I enjoy it so much on stage and I hope people see that and hear that when they come to the theatre."

Ali plays 17-year-old Bobby in Dreamboats.

Down at the youth club he likes Sue, but she's not interested...but his best friend's sister Laura is. You know what's coming.

Dreamboats and Petticoats is at the Theatre Royal Windsor August 14 to 19.

Go to theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk for tickets.