Touring – reviewed at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking
Guest reviewer: Valerie Field
Son of a Preacher Man, directed by Craig Revel Horwood, is based on the music of Dusty Springfield, so I expected good things. Unfortunately, the story is not very believable and at times the production feels disjointed and rather amateurish.
The three main characters are brought together because they are all looking for love. They decide to go to Soho to find the record shop of the 60s named ‘The Preacher Man’ as they had heard the owner was someone who everyone went to for advice especially when it came to love. Sadly, the owner had died and it is now a coffee shop run by his not so clever son, played by Nigel Richards.
Alison, a young widow played by Michelle Gayle, has a very good singing voice and I felt she should have been more involved in the show. Alice Barlow, as Kat, is slightly lacking with her vocals but comes across as very confident in her acting. The reason she wants to go to the record shop is because her gran who has just died told her the story of ‘The Preacher Man’.
Paul, played by Michael Howe, remembers going to shop in the 60s and is hoping to rekindle a lost love from those days.
I felt the show had been advertised around Dusty Springfield and I was disappointed that more was not mentioned about her as I thought the production was going to include some of her life. A photo of her on stage or as a backdrop I feel would have enhanced her songs.
The singing by the ensemble was not the best and I don’t think it worked very well having the musicians on stage throughout. The girls playing the Cappuccino Sisters however, were very energetic and a gave a lively and uplifting performance throughout.
The second half of the show was so much better and more lively and ‘Dusty Springfield’ inspired although it still wasn’t the best.
I do feel anyone going to see it because of Dusty Springfield could be a bit disappointed, but in saying that it was an entertaining and enjoyable evening and the audience seemed to appreciate it. Go along for fun but don’t expect a masterpiece.
Son of a Preacher Man runs at the New Victoria Theatre until 28th April