Son of a Preacher Man

Oct 18 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆    Nostalgic

King’s Theatre: Tue 17 – Sat 21 Oct 2017
Review by Sarah Moyes

Dusty Springfield fans will love Son of a Preacher Man as the 60s return to the Kings this week 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.

A scene from Son of a Preacher Man. Pic: Darren Bell

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.

Stand-out performance

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.

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:

Tour website:
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
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
023 9282 8282 Book online
6 – 10 Mar Aylesbury
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
01244 409 113 Book online
3 – 7 Apr Ipswich
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
0844 871 7648 Book online
29 May – 2 June Llandudno
01492 872000 Book online
5 – 9 June King’s Lynn
Corn Exchange
01553 764864 Book online
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
0844 871 3017 Book online


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