A review by Nicholas Newman of Son of a Preacher Man at the New Theatre Oxford
If you’re looking for a great entertaining musical show full of life, then SON OF A PREACHER MAN is just for you.
The show’s plot is a bit unconventional, but the writers have cleverly created a narrative to link the famous Dusty Springfield music and lyrics in an evocative way.
The story is basically about three lonely people in search of a life partner, but whose past attempts have been disappointing, to say the least. One is Alison (played by Debra Stephenson) who is a recently widowed young teacher. She has fallen in love with an A-level student to whom she is giving home tutoring. The other characters are Paul (played by Michael Howe) who portrays a successful gay mature man searching for the love of his life when he was a teenager, and lastly Kat (played by Jess Barker) who portrays a very striking northern lass who has not been lucky with computer dating.
The show takes place in Dean St, Soho London, which in the 60s was the heart of Britain’s pop music culture and London’s red light district. The reason our heroes are in Dean Street today is to find the preacher man, who ran a pop music shop in Dean Street where he acted as an adviser to his customers.
Unfortunately, our team of heroes discovers that the famous record shop of the 1960s no longer exists. Instead, it has been turned into a ubiquitous coffee shop managed by the son of the now deceased preacher man. Eventually, they meet the Simon the son of the preacher man played by Ian Reddington and they persuade him to solve their matchmaking problems. How well he succeeds and what it does, well you just have to go and see the show to find out.
For those with fond memories of Dusty Springfield’s great pop hits, there is much to enjoy including enjoying such songs as “the look of love”, “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” and “son of a preacher man” and much more.
As for the show, I think it is well worth seeing, certainly, the packed audience was very enthusiastic at the end as they cheered and clapped the cast. The men behind this production are BBC Come Dancing talent show judge Craig Horwood and writer Warner Brown. I also appreciated the multi shilled team who managed to sing, dance and play musical instruments with great dedication and professional pride.