Whilst Tom and I headed to Marrakesh for some much needed R&R, Amy and her mum headed to the New Theatre Oxford on behalf of the Weekend Tourist to catch the new Dusty Springfield musical, Son of a Preacher Man. Here’s what she had to say…
My mum and I headed to the New Theatre in Oxford this week to enjoy ‘Son of a Preacher Man’, a new touring musical featuring the music of 1960s icon, Dusty Springfield. Directed and choreographed by Craig Revel-Horwood (who I embarrassingly bumped into as I walked to my seat) and starring recognisable faces such as Debra Stephenson (The Impressions Show, Coronation Street) and Ian Reddington (Eastenders, Dr. Who), we were excited to see the show.
Son of a Preacher Man is a jukebox musical set in present-day London. Three random strangers, generations apart but all in need of help with their hopeless love lives, go in search of ‘The Preacher Man’, a swinging 1960s Soho record shop where the legendary owner, The Preacher Man himself, gave advice to cure the loneliest of hearts. Unfortunately, The Preacher Man has long gone, so the three strangers beg his son, and the wonderful Cappuccino sisters, to help.
The lead role of Kat, the youngest person looking for The Preacher Man’s help, was billed to be played by Diana Vickers, an X Factor finalist and West End star. However, due to illness, the role of Kat was played by her understudy, Jess Barker. Barker gave a standout performance and her powerful vocals matched up to those of Dusty’s. A particular highlight was her rendition of ‘I Only Want to Be With You’, which was packed with humour as she lusted for a kilt-wearing plumber she’d found online.
As someone lacking a musical gift, I’m always blown away by the talent of an orchestra. What made the usual orchestra even better, however, was that the majority of the instruments were played on stage. The concentration it must have taken to be able to play a flute while dancing and also acting as part of the onstage ensemble is enormous and I was thoroughly in awe.
Craig Revel-Horwood’s choreography was rather different to what we see from him on Strictly Come Dancing, with a strong emphasis on the contemporary genre. Although at times this felt a bit strange when contrasted with the strong 1960s feel of the show, it definitely helped convey the emotion of unrequited love felt by the main cast.
You can catch Son of a Preacher Man on tour in the local area at High Wycombe and Aylesbury, as well as other areas across the country, until July 2018.