Son of a Preacher Man – Venue Cymru Review

Having made its world premiere in 2017, new musical Son of a Preacher Man continues with a 2018 tour and last night it was in Llandudno at Venue Cymru, so we popped over to check out the 1960s Soho pad where the hip kids would dance the night away to latest crazes, while The Preacher Man, the owner of the club, would dispense his wisdom to cure the loneliest of hearts.

But unlike the last show I saw, which was Hairspray, Son of a Preacher Man brings us forward, to a time when The Preacher Man has gone, the record shop is now a coffee shop and now dispenses lattes and cappuccinos rather than dispensing the ideas of love. But three strangers have made their way to the once legendary and mythical The Preacher Man to find help with their loveless lives, only to find that so much has changed over the many years. But the coffee shop is now run by The Son of the Preacher man, along with the Cappuccino Sisters, it’s now his task to channel his father’s spirit to help the three strangers and to give them the look of love.

Son of the Preacher Man has The Look of Love

When I first heard about the show, the first thing that appealed to me was the mention of the music of Dusty Springfield, I’ve always loved her songs and it made me wonder how her songs would be brought into the production of the show, after seeing the show it was wonderfully done, and obviously as the show is about love, I was over the moon that one of my favourite songs was in there, The Look of Love, which was performed brilliantly during the show.

Not only is the music nicely performed by the cast and accompanied by very talented musicians, but the set for Son of a Preacher Man works so well, with the use of a few foreground curtain drops to produce other locations, such as a park etc, the main star of the set has to be The Preacher Man, the building that ties the story together, from its 1960s to present day, it’s wonderfully set as the centre piece as the front opens up to the inside to show the record shop and coffee shop, plus as another location later in the production.

The lighting is also used very well, such as in the beginning as we are introduced to the three main characters as they tell us of their memories of The Preacher Man, as each one takes their turn the spotlights shine down on them to not on highlight them, but also give you a feeling of looking into someones past and feeling for them and their loss.

The cast of Son of a Preacher Man Shine

Let’s start off with Michelle Gayle, who many of you will remember from EastEnders and Grange Hill, Michelle puts on a brilliant performance as Alison who is heading to The Preacher Man after the loss of her husband and is looking for answers to a new love she thinks she has found, she has a wonderful stage presence, bringing her character to life on the stage with a passion for the role, Michelle not only brings her acting skills to the production but also her singing, her musical numbers were a joy to listen to.

Joining Michelle is Alice Barlow who has been in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks, Alice plays the youngest of the three main characters, Kat, after her grandma passes away, Kat is on the brink of losing her place to live and is being threatened with eviction from her grandma’s house, she heads to The Preacher Man on a pilgrimage after her Grandmother telling her about the venue. Again another amazing performance from Alice, a joy to watch and listen to.

The last of the three, is Michael Howe who plays Paul, the eldest character who remembers The Preacher Man back in the 60s, Paul takes us back to the time of the swinging 60s and about the love that felt he had back then, that at the time couldn’t be shouted about! Michael plays his character very well, he brings some nice excentricities to the role and performs wonderfully with the rest of the cast to bring the main characters across with sheer delight.

Michael Howe (Paul) in Son of a Preacher Man UKTour. Photo by Darren Bell

Finally the Son of a Preacher Man, Simon, played by Nigel Richards, I love this character, he starts off very differently to how his characters end the show, Simon keeps himself to himself, working in the coffee show with the delightful Cappuccino Sisters, Simon is the character that holds everything together, he takes on the mantle of The Preacher Man, with the help of his fathers spirit he brings the look of love to the three characters and on the journey we are treated to a collection of some of the greatest hits from Dusty Springfield, including “The Look Of Love”, “I Only Want To Be With You”, “Spooky” and of course the title of the show, the classic “Son Of A Preacher Man”.

Son of a Preacher Man is beautifully produced by Brian Berg, John Sachs, Andrew Berg & Kimberley Sachs for Eclipse Live, Michael Park for The Infinite Group, Paul Tyrer & Jamie Clark for TBO Productions, and Churchill Theatre Bromley, all on behalf of Dusty Touring Ltd.

This is a show that you don’t want to miss, it’s full of emotions, wonderful choreography from Craig Revel Horwood and of course a Dusty Springfield soundtrack.

Son of a Preacher Man is at Venue Cymru until Saturday 2nd June 2018 and tickets are on sale now from www.venuecymru.co.uk or via the Box Office on 01492 872000.

4

Summary

A show that looks for love and finds it, includes the amazing music of Dusty Springfield and wonderful performances, this is a production that you don’t want to miss.

Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham is the founder and owner of the Blazing Minds. She is also a Cinema reviewer, based at the Scala in Prestatyn and also works with RealD 3D reviewing the latest 3D releases, she has also had several articles published in various publications. In 2015 she became an Award Winning Blogger and also has her website listed as one of the UK's Top 10 Film Blogs.
Karen Woodham