SON OF A PREACHER MAN – Touring ★★★

In Musicals, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

Touring – reviewed at King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
Guest reviewer: Sarah Moyes

Dusty Springfield fans will love Son of a Preacher Man as the 60s return with Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood on both direction and choreographic duties. Just don’t hold your breath for a thrilling script because a good storyline is something that’s, unfortunately, lacking in this new jukebox musical.

Let’s face it, it was only a matter of time before a musical full of Dusty Springfield hits made its way onto the circuit. However, where some jukebox musicals have succeeded, think Mamma Mia and Rock of Ages, Son of a Preacher Man just doesn’t quite hit the mark.

In 1960s Soho, Preacher Man was the most swinging joint in town where kids danced the night away while its legendary owner, The Preacher Man, handed out advice to help their lonely hearts. It’s now present day and we’re introduced to three random strangers who find themselves drawn to the site of the infamous venue in search of the love guru.

The three – Kat, Paul and Alison – soon discover they’re even more unlucky in love as the Preacher Man is long gone, however, his son Simon aka Son of the Preacher Man is on hand to try help these lovesick strangers find happiness again.

Ian Reddington who plays Simon is charming as he finds himself thrown into his father’s shoes. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see him sing much, but he shows off a fantastic voice when he does. It would have been a welcome addition to the show to have him singing more.

The role of Kat is normally played by former X Factor star Diana Vickers, but understudy Jess Barker stepped up to the role on press night. Kat is a heartbroken young lady who has been rejected by a man on a dating site that she’s never even met.

Jess Barker puts in one of the stand-out performances of the night at Kat. She’s warm and funny, providing most of the show’s needed humour.

Michael Howe gives a really solid performance as Paul, a kind and likeable man looking to reconnect with an old love. And his rendition of I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten is one of the musical highlights of the show.

Son of a Preacher Man. Pic Darren Bell

Then there’s Alison played by Debra Stephenson. She’s a recently widowed teacher who has a crush on a teenage student. It’s a slightly uncomfortable and unbelievable storyline, but Debra Stevenson gives it her all, even if the subject matter isn’t really explored in much depth.

On paper, Warner Brown’s book might work as a believable plot for a musical. But the reality, under Craig Revel Horwood’s direction, is just not engaging enough.

The actors all give good performances – and you do want to care about their characters. But it is difficult to muster up any real connection to them when the story doesn’t always flow and the songs feel as if they have been added in just to fill up some time.
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However, the show does have an amazing soundtrack and you don’t need to be a big Dusty Springfield fan to appreciate the music here. The show delivers classics The Look Of Love, I Only Want To Be With You, and of course, Son Of A Preacher Man. To top it off, the cast can certainly sing and the addition of them playing instruments on stage helps bring the songs to life.

If you’re a Dusty Springfield fan then by all means go and watch the show. The music provides a real nostalgic factor that anyone who remembers the 60s will love. It’s just unlikely that Son of a Preacher Man will be thought of as a ground-breaking musical any time soon.

Running time: Two hours and 25 minutes (including one interval).
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ.
Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 October
Evenings: 7.30pm. Matinees Wed & Sat: 2.30pm
Tickets and details: www.edtheatres.com/preacherman.

Tour website: http://sonofapreachermanmusical.com/
Twitter: @PreacherManUK
Facebook: /sonofapreachermanuk

Son of a Preacher Man  on tour:

17 – 21 Oct
Edinburgh
Kings Theatre
0131 529 6000
Book online

24 – 28 Oct
Oxford
New Theatre
0844 871 3020
Book online

31 Oct – 4 Nov
Tunbridge Wells
Assembly Hall Theatre
01892 530613
Book online

7 – 11 Nov
Hull
New Theatre
01482 300 306
Book online

14 – 18 Nov
Wimbledon
New Wimbledon Theatre
0844 871 7646
Book online

21 – 25 Nov
Belfast
Grand Opera House
028 9024 1919
Book online

28 Nov – 2 Dec
Wycombe
Swan Theatre
01494 512 000
Book online

Tour dates 2018:

16 – 20 Jan
Southend
Cliffs Pavilion
01702 351135
Book online

23 – 27 Jan
Plymouth
The Lyric
01752 267222
Book online

30 Jan – 3 Feb
Nottingham
Theatre Royal
0115 989 5555
Book online

6-10 Feb
Darlington
Hippodrome
01325 405405
Book online

13 – 17 Feb
Coventry
Belgrade Theatre
024 7655 3055
Book online

20 – 24 Feb
Malvern
Malvern Festival Theatre
01684 892277
Book online

27 Feb – 3 Mar
Portsmouth
Kings
023 9282 8282
Book online

6 – 10 Mar
Aylesbury
Waterside
0844 871 7607
Book online

13 – 17 Mar
Shrewsbury
Theatre Severn
01743 281281
Book online

20 – 24 Mar
Blackpool
Grand Theatre
01253 290 190
Book online

27 – 31 Mar
Chester
Storyhouse
01244 409 113
Book online

3 – 7 Apr
Ipswich
Regent
01473 433100
Book online

10 – 14 Apr
Torquay
Princess Theatre
0844 871 3023
Book online

17 – 21 Apr
Brighton
Theatre Royal
0844 871 7650
Book online

24 – 28 Apr
Woking
New Victoria
0844 871 7645
Book online

1 – 5 May
Bournemouth
Bournemouth Pavilion
0844 576 3000
Book online

8 – 10 May
Glasgow
Kings
0844 871 7648
Book online

29 May – 2 June
Llandudno
Cymru
01492 872000
Book online

5 – 9 June
King’s Lynn
Corn Exchange
01553 764864
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12-16 June
Bradford
Alhambra Theatre
0844 871 7648
Book online

19 – 23 June
Aberdeen
His Majesty’s Theatre
01224 641122
Book online

3 – 7 July
LIVERPOOL
Empire
0844 871 3017
Book online

ENDS

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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.
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Thom Dibdin on FacebookThom Dibdin on RssThom Dibdin on Twitter
Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.

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