Take a nostalgic trip back to the swinging ‘60s with new musical Son of a Preacher Man, featuring the soulful music of Dusty Springfield and choreography from Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood. This uplifting musical opened tonight (Tuesday 15 May) at Cardiff’s New Theatre as part of a major UK tour.
It tells of three strangers who share troubles finding love, and seek the answer to their problems at the Preacher Man, a record shop whose owner dispensed advice to cure loneliness back in the ‘60s. Today, Preacher Man is far from what it used to be, with its owner long gone. Will the Preacher Man’s nervous son fill his father’s shoes?
The show includes Dusty Springfield’s greatest songs including “The Look Of Love”, “I Only Want To Be With You“, “Spooky” and the classic “Son Of A Preacher Man”.
Michelle Gayle takes on the role of Alison, with success from Grange Hill to EastEnders before achieving six top 20 hits, her acting talents and vocals will surely delight audiences, although she missed tonight’s performance – her part being ably taken by understudy Michelle Long.
Very strong vocals came from Alice Barlow of Coronation Street and Benidorm fame, who plays the bold young Kat, and there was a particularly enthusiastic and dedicated performance from Michael Howe as an older man named Paul.
The choreography was impressive with strong performances from the entire cast, particularly the quirky Cappuccino Girls who provided plenty of laughs. Also noteworthy are the simple sets, which effectively capture the location, and the musical numbers are all well executed, with “Spooky” standing out as a particularly memorable performance.
Though some of the plot may seem questionable to begin with, this is quickly resolved in the second act, resulting in an uplifting musical which will surely have any Dusty Springfield fan – or anyone who enjoys a good tune – up and dancing by the end.
Son of a Preacher Man runs until Saturday (19 May) and tickets are available from the box office on (029) 2087 8889 and newtheatrecardiff.co.uk.
Review by Alys Jones