New Theatre, Oxford – until 28 October 2017
Guest reviewers: Michelle and Aaron Pont
The present meets the past in Son of a Preacher Man, where 3 lonely hearts go in search of an old record store in Soho, which, during the 1960’s, the legendary Preacher Man was famed for giving out his words of wisdom, a cure to everyone’s ills. Our lonely-hearts are also in search of love.
Upon finding the old record store, and the son of the Preacher Man, they are heartbroken to see that it is now a rundown, sad café, with none of the spark or life they were expecting. The son of the Preacher Man (Simon) is still living above the café, and with pressure from the lonely-hearts trio, tries to channel his late father’s spirit to help them find true love.
I found myself whisked back to the 1960’s, with the wonderful music of Dusty Springfield performed so well in this cleverly crafted show.
The Cappuccino Sisters are a delight, a trio of waitresses suitably attired in ‘over-the-top’ 60’s gear, tulle skirts, short-suits and flamboyant headdress, they conjured up images of roller-skating waitresses from 60’s milk bars, especially Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong. They strut their stuff about the stage, playing a range of musical instruments, singing and dancing to the ambiance of the show and taking us back in time.
This is a very impressive addition to the show; rather than having the musicians in the pit, they are a part of the show. Showing off their musical and performance skills throughout.
On the night I was there, understudy Jess Baker took the role of Kat to a high point with an outstanding performance. All credit to Jess with her fabulous accent and beautiful, powerful voice. Michael Howe as Paul was also mesmerising, with his great dance moves and wonderful voice, not to mention his prowess on the guitar. Both were, for me, the standout performers.
Look out for the wonderful rendition of ‘I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’ sung and danced with chairs. Yes, chairs. The harmony and movement in this song was wonderful.
Also, standout performances were Lewis Kidd’s rendition of ‘You don’t have to say you Love me’ and Ellie-Jane Goddard and Michael Howe’s rendition of ‘Spooky’, with Michael on guitar. How dare they all be so talented!
The whole show ‘Unleased the Monster of Love’. Great singing, choreography, stage setting, lighting and topping it all off with wonderful songs made so famous by Dusty, who was almost an Oxford local (lived in High Wycombe), so it is a fitting tribute to her. There were only one or two forgivable missed moments in the script, but that was nothing compared to the fabulous performances. How could you not want to see a show with Dusty’s fabulous hits as inspiration.