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  • Review by john Murray

Son Of A Preacher Man

The only one who could ever reach me was the son of a preacher man. Familiar? Well musos will know the Dusty Springfield song no doubt and that was enough for writer Warner Brown to devise a whole musical with this title and featuring other big songs associated with Dusty. As he said himself the songs actually form part of the story unlike some where the story stops for the song before returning to the plot. Having said that I didn’t know much about this presentation until it came to Edinburgh and they have played seven weeks already across the UK and have many more to go closing in Liverpool in July 2018.

For the Edinburgh show I attended, to a full house I might add featured Jess Barker as Kat not Diana Vickers as advertised. We did get the talented Debra Stevenson and Ian Reddington though as principals and all directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood. His influence was immediate too with crowd scenes, entrances and cast shifting sets before us all apparent and the closing bows were complex but so effective. As to the show content I found the song delivery unconvincing given the great choice of songs. The Look Of Love kept coming up and In The Middle Of Nowhere and I Only Want To Be With You could have been much bigger in the production. However Goin’ Back and the lesser known Spooky were excellent in my view, both ballads and the latter with acoustic guitar accompaniment from the stage. The music was quite bizarre though with trombone and sax entering from the wings to play a few bars then disappearing and while we could see cello and brass where was drums and bass?

The set worked well transforming outdoor to interior cafe. The plot surrounded three of the leads seeking emotional solutions by visiting a long closed record shop in Soho from the 1960’s run by the Preacher Man but now a cafe owner by his son (get it now?) The rousing finish was worthy of any production with of course the title song as we would expect.

Kings Edinburgh until 21 October

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