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Fun musical swings back to the 60s


Son of a Preacher Man, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, to Feb 17. If you love the songs of the 60s you'll thoroughly enjoy Son of a Preacher Man, written by Warner Brown and directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood. The lively musical stars popular impressionist, comedy performer, actress and singer, Debra Stephenson, who plays Alison; Alice Barlow (Kat), Michael Howe (Paul) and Nigel Richards who plays Simon – the son of a Preacher Man. The storyline revolves around three lovesick souls Alison, Kat and Paul, each with an unhappy relationship, returning to a Soho club, the Preacher Man, which was the place to be back in the swinging 60s.

At the time the Preacher Man himself was famous for giving out good advice to cure the loneliest of hearts. Alison, Kat and Paul are hoping he will still be around to help them sort out their love lives. Unfortunately, the Preacher Man has died, and his son, Simon, now runs the place as a coffee shop helped by the singing Cappuccino Sisters. The three lonely hearts besiege Simon, persuading him to help them, and miraculously with a hot line to his father’s spirit, Simon comes up with some advice. Not necessary good advice, but he does his best. The story incorporates a host of wonderful hits from the 1960s such as I Only Want to Be With You, The Look Of Love, I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me, and many more. Twenty-two fabulous songs in fact. It was really good to see live on-stage musicians – a great performance by Michael Howe on guitar, while others played violin, saxophones, trumpet, french horn, flute and clarinet. And of course, there's plenty of dancing: One scene was surprisingly raunchy, which might have made some in the audience a bit uncomfortable! The cast all sang well, but it has to be said, Dusty Springfield’s voice is a hard act to follow. There’s plenty of humour in the story, but it seemed as if the plot was deliberately trying to cover all angles – gay relationships, teacher/student relationships, internet dating, homelessness, bereavement, even a touch of violence as Kat "beats up" her would-be but no-good boyfriend. All in all, a fun musical extravaganza featuring some of the very best songs of the 1960s.

Tickets from: www.belgrade.co.uk or 024 7655 3055

Winner!