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While some jukebox musicals feature a strong story, expertly woven together by an endless stream of classic hits, others fail to hit the mark by relying purely on musical nostalgia and overlooking the need for a strong cast and a plot that is both interesting and relevant.
Son of a Preacher Man, which is on at the King’s Theatre until Saturday, falls somewhere in the middle.
Inspired by the music of Dusty Springfield, the show loosely follows the story of three strangers who travel to Soho in search of an infamous record store which used to be run by ‘The Preacher Man’, who was known for dishing out stellar advice and helping mend broken hearts.
Shaky at its best and laughable at its worst, the Son of a Preacher Man plot is strikingly weak and has little relevance to the music on which the show is based.
Luckily, the leading cast members are in fine voice throughout, with understudy Jess Barker – covering for Diana Vickers – turning in a particularly strong performance as Kat, a strong, love-struck youngster who has recently lost her grandmother. Kate Hardisty, Cassiopeia Berklely-Agyepong and Michelle Long also manage to bring energy and enthusiasm to the stage as the Cappuccino Sisters, instantly lifting the spirits of the audience each time they appear.
It’s not awful, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Dusty Springfield’s iconic back catalogue deserves so much more than what this show has to offer.
Son of a Preacher Man, King’s Theatre, Leven Street, until Saturday 21 October, 7.30pm (2.30pm matinee performances on selected dates), 0131 529 6000.