Strictly Come Dancing judge, Craig Revel Horwood, is the director and choreographer behind new musical, Son of a Preacher Man.
And there is more reality show talent on stage, with X-Factor finalist turned musical star, Diana Vickers as Kat.
As the title suggests, Dusty Springfield provides the soundtrack for the story. Aside from that, not knowing what to expect, the opening scene of three different stories being told at the same time isn’t the easiest to follow. Thankfully the magic of spotlights helps guide the storytelling.
The story, although slightly odd, is charming. Three hapless romantics, who can’t seem to find what they are searching for, all coincidentally turn up to the same Soho record shop, The Preacher Man. Well, what was a record shop in the 1960’s, only to find it’s now a generic coffee shop where they don’t even sell tea – outrageous!
The wanderers seek out the former legendary owner, the Preacher Man. Turns out, he’s long gone, but funnily enough they do find his son, and persuade or force, however you want to see it, to help them find love.
Albeit slightly cheesy and slapstick at times, there are genuinely funny moments along the way. And, although as soon as the curtain raises you think you know the ending, good old Craig pulls a fake on you and there’s a twist.
With themes of unrequited gay love and teacher-student love, this musical is a lot deeper than it looks; a classic case of don’t judge a book by its cover.
I would say my only bone to pick is that once everyone is happy, (sorry if that spoils it for you but come on it’s a musical, there’s always a happy ending), is all the couples kiss except the gay couple. Why include that storyline, if you don’t follow it through?
Son of a Preacher Man is at the Regent Theatre, Hanley until Saturday 14 of October.