Tuesday, 30 January 2018

“Son Of A Preacher Man”
Nottingham Theatre Royal
Who is this Preacher man and who is his son? Well, back in the Swinging 60’s, apparently, there was a record shop in London called “The Preacher Man”. It was a place where all the hipsters hung out and discussed the topics of the day, which of course included relationship issues.
Now, as well as dispensing records from his shop, the owner, who also became known as The Preacher Man, also dispensed relationship advice. An agony uncle of the day if you like.
Fast forward to the present day and three people, Paul, Alison and Kat, all at a crossroads in their life, meet up with Simon, the son of The Preacher Man. The three, from three different generations, ask for help and guidance but can the son of The Preacher Man offer help and guidance or will he make things worse with his meddling?
The story line is as flimsy as a cheap paper tissue, and as easy to see through.
The music consists of songs that are associated with Dusty Springfield, and while the songs are stand-alone classics, at times they seem to just be slotted in merely to just have a song at that point of the proceedings.
Classics like “I Only Want To be With You”, “Spooky”, “The Look Of Love”, "In The Middle Of Nowhere", "I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten", "Goin' Back", "A House Is Not A Home" and the title song are well performed, if not at times a little soul-less in some of the songs but, as I said, seems to be a little disjointed to the plot of the musical.
Dusty performed these songs with great soul and feeling. She may not be spinning in her grave at some of these renditions, but she may be turning rather fast.
Directed and Choreographed by Strictly’s Craig Revel-Horwood. I was a tad disappointed as I was expecting much more from the choreography than what I saw. It was fun but I've seen better from local theatre groups around the area.
Starring Debra Stevenson as Alison, the ex teacher who fell for a pupil she was tutoring called Liam (Lewis Kidd). Alison knew that this was wrong but can she fight her feelings?
Alice Barlow, who younger theatre goers may know from “Hollyoaks”, plays Kat. Alice surprised me with the quality of her voice, especially in the gospel finale version of "Son Of A Preacher Man", which is where most of the audience started to stir.
Michael Howe plays Paul, who we discover through the story line is gay, and is now looking for the young man who who had eyes for back in the 60's, but didn't follow up on his feelings. Michael has a lovely voice with feeling which showed in the group version of "How Can I Be Sure" and his duet of "Spooky".
Nigel Richards played Simon, the Son of the Preacher Man, and for some strange reason I was picturing Allan Carr in this role! But Allan Carr will never have Nigel's singing voice.
Playing the preyed upon Scottish, kilt clad plumber Andy, is Liam Vincent-Kilbride. Unashamedly the eye candy for the ladies, and possibly some of the men as well.
While all of the main leads were good in their roles and the singing wasn't bad. The one actor I was completely drawn to was one of the Cappuccino Sisters. Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong was the one who my eyes were drawn to. Not only for her stature but for the great fun she was having on stage and her stage presence.
Michelle Long and Kate Hardisty complete the trio of Cappuccino Sisters, who look fantastic and sound the same.
The set and the costumes were eye catching, the band were good, but I am not a fan of the actors playing their instruments on stage, especially when they are not relevant to the character or the role. It's not needed, irrelevant and slightly distracting.
The basic choreography and the flimsy story apart, this is held together by the cast and the music of Dusty's hits. I'm glad that I've seen the musical, but it's not going to make it into my list of musicals to see again in a hurry.
“Son Of A Preacher Man” is at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 3 February 2018. I won't be waiting though to see this musical in the shortlist for an Olivier award any time soon, but it's fluffy and fun and we have to wait until Act Two for the action and the fun to start. 

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