On an Autumnal Tuesday we headed along to the Regent Theatre in Hanley to watch the theatre’s first night performance of Son of a Preacher Man.
Expecting a biographical tale of, of course, the legendary Dusty Springfield, we quickly realised this was more of a Mamma Mia than a Sunny Afternoon, with the opening scene quickly bringing the audience up to speed on the failed love lives of Paul, Alison and Kat as all three characters have their stories played out at the same time.
These love seekers all return to what used to be, in the 60’s, a funky record shop in Soho called the The Preacher Man. The Preacher Man himself had scores of people coming to his shop looking for ways to find their one true love bug unfortunately now the record shop is no more, replaced by a coffee shop, and The Preacher Man is no longer around. Running the coffee shop now is The Preacher Man’s son Simon, played by Gary Mitchinson, and the trio turn to him in the hope that he has his fathers gift when it comes to love…
Paul is brilliantly played by Michael Howe and he gives a powerful and convincing performance of a broken hearted man looking for his teenage crush. Former X Factor semi-finalist Diana Vickers gives an amazing and funny performance as Kat. Finally the trio is rounded off by Michelle Long who plays Alison, who really doesn’t know what to do about her feelings for her young lover. All three of the main characters had powerful and emotive voices that brought the story lines to life.
A particular highlight were the “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” routine, which brilliantly portrayed the pain of loss to the point of giving us goosebumps, and the Cappuccino Sisters who brought sass & humour to every scene they featured in.
Craig Revel Horwood, of Strictly Come Dancing fame, is the man responsible for this piece of musical theatre. Craig uses his extensive background to provide both the choreography and direction for the show and the production doesn’t disappoint.
An emotional show, that might not be quite what you expect, but brings to life the music of Dusty Springfield in a sensitive and entertaining performance.