Theatre Review: ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ (UK Tour)


Son of a Preacher Man theatre review at New Victoria Theatre: A a jukebox musical and a fun show wrapped up in the music of Dusty Springfield.  It attempts to link a modern story of love lost an found to the songs of the legendary songstress.

Son of a Preacher Man theatre review by Katey Thompson.

Son on a Preacher Man review
Son on a Preacher Man review

Son of a Preacher Man is a tale of three lovelorn people who are all yearning for the past and a happier time which they believe was when a Preacher Man was the proprietor of a London record shop. There is Paul (Michael Howe), who remembers the golden days of 1960’s London and looks back with nostalgia. Kat (Alice Barlow) who is struggling to adapt to the highs and lows of online dating and finally Alison (Michelle Gayle), who is coming to terms with the death of her husband. Their lives become twisted up in each other’s when they go to seek the Preacher Man’s advice.  They end up meeting Simon (Nigel Richards) who is the son of the Preacher Man whose store is a coffee shop. The Cappuccino sisters (Michelle Long, Kate Hardisty and Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong), who work as waitresses, are kooky and show a typical splash of quirkiness that is part of a Craig Revel Horwood production.

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The songs are familiar and are presented as short story within the dialogue of the show, split up and sung by various members of the cast and supported by the musician actors. Some of the songs are not as brilliant when shared in this way, but it does highlight the poignancy of them.  Especially the song ‘I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself‘ sung by the member of a bereavement group as they dance with empty chairs, to signify the loved one they have lost. There are moments of humour within the script, but the audience did not always respond to it. Some of the stronger songs were left to the end, but I think they could have been used to better effect during the main story.  The audience is enjoy the show, especially towards the end, but missed some of the jokes which suggested that perhaps the story at times is a bit disjointed and some of the characters are lacking depth of character and relevance to the story line.

Son on a Preacher Man review
Son on a Preacher Man review

The staging was refreshing and the focus was of the front of the store and the inside both as it was in the 1960s and today. I enjoyed the show as it wasn’t a tribute act or an homage to her life, but it did demonstrate the diversity of Dusty Springfield’s songs which were used effectively to support a modern narrative.  

Despite the small flaws in this production, it is an enjoyable evening and a chance to hear some classic Dusty Springfield hits.

Son of a Preacher Man theatre review by Katey Thompson, April 2018.

Son of a Preacher Man is running at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking until 28th April 2018.

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