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Son of a Preacher Man

Directed and Choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood

Palace Theatre, Manchester

27 September 2017

Ian Reddington (Simon) in Son of a Preacher Man UK Tour. Photo by Darren Bell.

Ian Reddington (Simon) in Son of a Preacher Man UK Tour. Photo by Darren Bell.

This is a jukebox musical based around the songs of Dusty Springfield.

The story is a mite contrived but not with a certain quaint charm: there are three people, a man and two women of varying ages and sexualities, who visit or in one case revisit (the first song is ‘Goin’ Back’) The Preacher Man, here a legendary record store of ‘60s Soho. They are all looking for the eponymous owner, a learned and wise counsellor, in order to get advice on trouble in their love lives. He has passed away, kicked the bucket some years past, but they find Simon (Ian Reddington), a sorry, bestridden guy moping about the place, who turns out to be his son. Can he help them out, say by channeling the spirit of his late deceased dad?

It is a briskly directed, effortlessly entertaining show with lots of dancing and singing, lively performances of a slue of Dusty’s songs (probably ‘I Close my Eyes and Count to Ten’ was my favourite), and had the musicians playing live on stage along with the stars. For many of the songs we also had the pleasure of the Cappuccino Sisters, the show’s very own backing group: strong and sweet, there was likely an espresso or two in here too. Whenever they took to the stage, they added some welcome glamour, not least courtesy of the tall and leggy Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong. We ended with the title song, which should tell you that things turned out well in the end for that sorry guy we saw at the start. There is someone for everyone, as Dusty somewhere sang.

Son of a Preacher Man is at the Palace Theatre until 30 September, then tours throughout the UK. Further details can be found here.