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Jul 27th

Some Guys Have All the Luck: The Rod Stewart Story

By Yvonne Delahaye

Some Guys Have All The Luck and in the case of Rod Stewart that’s certainly true.  He admits that he’s been very lucky having achieved tremendous success globally, but he couldn’t have done that without enormous talent. His old mate Elton John (who Rod calls Sharon) says that Rod (Phyllis to him) has one of the best rock and roll voices of all time.  To have a career lasting six decades is testament to his incredible raspy voice, starting as a blues singer and moving effortlessly into rock and roll, soul, pop and even jazz.

Rod Stewart is one of the best selling music artists of all time, having sold over 100 million records worldwide, earning him a Diamond Award from the World Music Awards.  He’s had six consecutive number one albums in the UK, an astounding 62 UK hit singles which includes 31 that reached the top ten and 6 of those went to No 1. In the US, Rod has had 16 top ten singles, with four reaching No 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 1993 Rod won a Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music, in 1994 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had a star placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and won a Grammy in 2005 for his album Stardust: The Great American Songbook Volume 111.  He was awarded a CBE in 2007 and finally in 2016 Rod was knighted for services to music and charity.

Not many people know this, but Rod’s 3rd solo album Every Picture Tells a Story went to No 1 in both the UK and US, with the single Maggie May also reaching No 1.  That’s something that had never been achieved before, not even by Elvis nor the Beatles!

Paul Metcalfe IS Rod Stewart in this fantastic theatrical production Some Guys Have All the Luck...The Rod Stewart Story.  From the moment he bursts onto the stage and belts out the opening number, supported by a super 5 piece band, we feel Rod is in the building!  All the vocal nuances, the raspiness, the range, the musical genres have been perfected, as well as his mannerisms, his energetic physicality, his accent and his humour.  Even Rod’s sister Mary Cady says “Paul's voice and mannerisms were the closest I've ever seen to Rod himself”

With over 6 decades of hits, it’s hard to cover everything in a few hours, but Paul gave the audience what they wanted Maggie May, Tonight’s the Night, Sailing, Handbags and Gladrags, You’re in My Heart and the iconic song Rod wrote and recorded as a tribute to his friend The Killing of Georgie Parts 1 and 2.  Two of my personal favourites were included, This Old Heart of Mine and The First Cut is the Deepest, making me reminisce about my first love who’d introduced me to Rod’s music and I’ve been a fan ever since.

The theatre was packed with enduring fans who loved every minute of this fantastic special tribute to one of music’s true superstars.  If you’ve never heard some of Rod’s earlier work, check out the album Handbags and Gladrags on Spotify and I guarantee you’ll be hooked on that incredible voice!

Check out tour dates for this show http://www.someguyshavealltheluck.com/

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

26.7.18

@yvonnedelahaye

Jul 19th

Awful Auntie @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

In the world of children’s literature, David Walliams has become a global phenomenon, with sales of his books exceeding over 20 million copies.  His fourth children’s novel, Gangsta Granny (2011), was his first number one bestseller followed by each of his subsequent novels. Awful Auntie was published in September 2014 and went to No.1 in the children’s book chart for seven weeks. The paperback was published in February 2016 and became the best-selling children’s paperback of the year. Combined sales of the hardback and paperback have now reached over a million copies. It has helped to make Walliams one of the country’s bestselling children’s authors, with four of his books charting in the 2016 children’s top ten. They have also been translated into over 50 languages, bringing worldwide sales to over 17 million. Three of his books have won National Children’s Book Awards.

Awful Auntie tells the story of Stella, who when she sets off to visit London with her parents had no idea her life was in danger. Waking up from a coma three months later, only her Aunt Alberta can tell Stella what has happened. But not everything Aunt Alberta tells her turns out to be true and Stella quickly discovers she’s in for the fight of her life against her very own awful Auntie!

Adapted for the stage by Neal Foster, who also directs the production for the Birmingham Stage Company, following on from the huge success of the Gangsta Granny’s tour. Staging Awful Auntie was challenging, as the action takes place in a huge mansion and Neal wanted to have the play unfold in real time.   Jackie Trousdale has produced an incredible set that moves around with the actors, enabling them to keep up the tension from beginning to end, easily moving outside to indoors.

As an adult actress it’s not easy to play a 12 year old girl, but Georgina Leonidas as Stella soon wins us round as we suspend disbelief. With a mixture of innocent, naivety and courage we get behind her struggle to escape from her dreadful Aunt Alberta’s clutches.

Timothy Speyer as Aunt Alberta, relishes his role as the hideous relative intent on finding the title deeds to inherit the house from Stella, after bumping off her parents.  Helping Stella to confound her evil plans, is a ghost called Soot enthusiastically played by Ashley Cousins.  Aunt Alberta though has trained up her owl, Wagner (Roberta Bellekom) to twart them at every turn.

Adding more comedy into the mix, is Richard James as the eccentric butler Gibbon, whose antics have the children roaring with laughter.

I’ve loved watching all the TV productions of Gansta Granny, Mr Stink, Billionaire Boy, The Boy in the Dress and Ratburger.  Awful Auntie works really well as a stage production with its mix of horror, comedy and detective story.  The actors work incredibly hard at this very physical show and certainly kept us all enthralled and entertained.  The 9 year old in my party loved it and said he wanted to go and buy the book as he hadn’t read it yet, so that’s a great success to get children reading more!

The show runs to Sunday 22nd at The Waterside Theatre www.atgtickets.com/Aylesbury

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

18/7/18

@yvonnedelahaye

Jul 5th

Jersey Boys @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Jersey Boys tickets

Jersey Boys is the remarkable true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their rise to stardom from the wrong side of the tracks.  These four boys from New Jersey became one of the most successful bands in pop history, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they turned 30.  The show is packed with their hits, including Beggin’, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got), Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My Way Back to You, Fallen Angel, Rag Doll and Who Loves You.

Winner of Broadway’s Tony, London’s Olivier and Australia’s Helpmann Awards for Best New Musical, Jersey Boys is the winner of 57 major awards worldwide and has been seen by over 25 million people worldwide.  Jersey Boys can currently be seen across the United States on its US National Tour.  The BROADWAY production closed on 15 January 2017 as the 12th longest running show in Broadway history.  Jersey Boys will return to New York City in a new production in November 2017 at New World Stages.

Jersey Boys is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.  The UK & Ireland Tour production is staged by the entire original Broadway creative team, led by director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, with scenic design by Klara Zieglerova, costume design by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Steve Canyon Kennedy and projection design by Michael Clark.  The orchestrations are by Steve Orich and the music supervision and vocal arrangements by Ron Melrose. 

Until I saw Jersey Nights a few years ago, I knew very little about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, but I was amazed by the sheer volume of hits that I knew.  For example, I didn’t know that Can’t Take My Eyes Off You was one of their songs, as I’d always associated it with Andy Williams.  Likewise I’d thought My Eyes Adored You was a Barry Manilow song.  If the songs are good, they’ll continue to be recorded by other artists through the decades and so the legacy continues.

The story of how these Jersey Boys formed and became so successful is astounding and this musical portrays the twists and turns of their incredible journey.  Tommy Devito (Simon Bailey) has been in and out of jail, along with Nick Massi (Lewis Griffiths), but hearing a young Frankie Castelluccio (later to become Valli) sing with his unusually high falsetto, Tommy realised that there may be a way out of his life of crime by forming a band. 

After a few unsuccessful attempts, it was a teenager called Joe Pesci (James Alexander Gibbs) who introduced singer/songwriter Bob Gaudio (Declan Egan) to the band.  Gaudio had one big hit under his belt, Who Wears Short Shorts, before writing the hit Sherry that was to set Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons on their path to international success. Joe Pesci went on to become an actor and won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in Goodfellas, for playing a character called Tommy Devito (a coincidence I wonder?) who was allegedly based on Thomas DeSimone.

Connections with the Mob, spells in jail, women, drugs, failed marriages, family tragedies, debts, this story has them all and it’s a fascinating insight into the real lives of this iconic group.  Frankie Valli is now 84 years old and continues to tour.

The show moves along at a pace with hit after hit to sing along to, lightening the darkness of their gruelling journey to stardom.

The show runs at The Waterside Theatre until Saturday 14th July, with tickets available from www.atgtickets.com.  Then the tour continues with tour dates until March 2019, which can be seen on www.jerseyboysuktour.com

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

4/7/18

@yvonnedelahaye

Jun 29th

MAMMA MIA! @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

MAMMA MIA!

With incredibly fortuitous timing, this delightful musical arrived in Aylesbury just as the sequel to the film MAMMA MIA! Here We Go Again is about to be released.  Judy Craymer had the ingenious vision of staging the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs with an enchanting tale of family and friendship unfolding on a Greek island paradise.  To date, it has been seen by more than 60 million people in 50 productions translated into 16 different languages. 

From West End to global phenomenon, the London production of MAMMA MIA! has now been seen by more than 10% of the entire UK population.  It’s one of only five musicals to have run for more than 10 years both on Broadway and in the West End. In 2011 MAMMA MIA! became the first Western musical ever to be staged in Mandarin in the People’s Republic of China.  The hugely successful International Tour, premiered in Dublin in September 2004 and has now visited 85 cities across 38 countries, selling more than 5 million tickets.

Its success has been extraordinary, buoyed by the release in 2008 of MAMMA MIA! The Movie, which became the highest grossing live action musical film of all time.

So just what has made this show so popular?  Of course it’s ABBA’s music and lyrics written by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, which everyone knows and loves. When ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Waterloo, their catchy tunes, lyrics and outrageously flamboyant costumes assured them of worldwide success.  It’s warmth, familiarity and poptastic fun appeals to all ages and it was good to see some young children in the audience, loving the songs and the story.  I remember my young niece watching the DVD of the film when it came out over and over again and singing the songs in the car. 

Quite often if people try to write a storyline around the lyrics of songs it can be clunky and jarring, but this story works as the characters are real and relatable.  The book is written by Catherine Johnson, who gives it a light touch creating some very lovable and funny characters.  Central protagonist, Donna Sheridan, is played by Shona White, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Meryl Streep and wins the audience around with her warmth and understanding of Donna’s dilemmas. Her side-kicks, Rosie and Tanya, both played with great verve and humour by Nicky Swift and Helen Anker, make up the dynamic trio performing Dancing Queen in the iconic costumes.

Lucy May Barker playing Donna’s daughter, Sophie has an absolutely pitch perfect voice, with great stage presence and she’s definitely someone to watch.

The choreography by Anthony Van Lasst was wonderful and I especially enjoyed the guys dancing in flippers!  If you’ve ever tried to walk in them (and I have) you’ll know how difficult it is, so this routine is joyous to watch.

The costumes are divine, the whole production is slick, full of energy and fun and the cast seemed to be having as much fun as the audience.  The theatre was packed to the rafters and I’m sure it will continue to be around the Globe.  It’s a real ‘feel-good’ night out, which lifts everyone up and leaves you singing and dancing all the way home.

For future tour details visit www.mammamia.com

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

26.6.18

@yvonnedelahaye

May 16th

Monogamy @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Monogamy

With a never-ending plethora of new musicals touring the UK, it’s not very often that we get the chance to see a new play.  In 1999 former actor Torben Betts was asked by Alan Ayckbourn to be his resident dramatist at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.   His first play, A Listening Heaven, was produced there and since then his plays have been translated into seven languages and been produced around the world. Torben’s new play Monogamy was commissioned by The Original Theatre Company and this is the world premiere tour of the UK.

Delving into the world of TV celebrity, Monogamy takes a look at how the pressure of sharing your life with millions of viewers affects your family relationships.  Caroline Mortimer is the nation’s favourite TV cook, owning a big house in Highgate with her rich husband, when their son returns from Cambridge University.  Press intrusion threatens to tear the family apart, as differing values and secrets start to surface.

Award winning actress Janie Dee (Follies), plays the TV cook whose life is thrown into turmoil as she sinks into an alcohol induced haze.  The play is witty and sharp, with lots of clever laugh out loud lines especially with Patrick Ryecart giving a brilliant portrayal of Caroline’s very un-PC husband Mike.   EastEnders fans will recognise Charlie Brooks, playing a distressed wife in search of the truth about her husband’s affair.

With quirky characters and situations, I often felt I was watching an Ayckbourn play and with an endorsement from him that reads ‘Torben Betts is the most exciting theatre writing talent I have come across in may a year’, you can’t get better than that.

There were some technical problems that meant a late start and I found the play a bit too wordy at times, taking some time to get to the point, so at nearly two and half hours running time I felt it could perhaps benefit from a few cuts!  Still it’s nice to see a new play and have some good laughs.

The play runs at The Waterside until Saturday 19th May.  Further information and tour dates can be found at http://www.originaltheatre.com/portfolio-item/monogamy/

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

15.5.18

@yvonnedelahaye

May 2nd

Champions of Magic @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Champions of Magic Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

‘There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’, so wrote William Shakespeare in Hamlet Act 1, Scene 5.  Roughly translated it means that human understanding and knowledge is limited and not everything can be explained rationally. Watching this incredible show challenges us to suspend disbelief and be totally amazed at the magic that unfolds before our eyes.

Seen by over 50,000 people worldwide, the Champions of Magic have been touring since 2013, including across America, selling out theatres and receiving 5 star reviews everywhere.  In 2016 the show even had a run in the West End.

The show features 5 of the world’s most accomplished magicians, led by comedy double act Young and Strange aiming for success in Las Vegas.  What’s so good about the show is that all of the magicians know how to really entertain the audience with plenty of laughs and interaction.  There were lots of people of all ages commandeered onto the stage to participate, making it a very special evening for families and friends.

The mind-reading skills were astonishing and we kept looking at one another with the question ‘how did he know that?’  Is it really possible for someone to be telepathic...?  Levitation,  close-up magic, impossible escapes, disappearances and some very spectacular tricks that just cannot be explained, leave you on the edge of your seat staring in wonder.

Champions of Magic is a brilliant show for all the family, very entertaining and thought-provoking. If you’re in any doubt, I would conclude that magic really does exist!

The current tour finishes this week with another performance at The Waterside on 2nd May and on 4th May at Kings Theatre, Southsea. Further information will be found on www.championsofmagic.co.uk

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

1.5.18

@yvonnedelahaye

Apr 11th

Cilla The Musical @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Cilla - The Musical Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

When Jeff Pope’s iconic TV series, Cilla, aired in September 2014 featuring an incredible performance from Sheridan Smith, no-one could have predicted that within a year Cilla Black would sadly be dead.  Initially she was very nervous about her life story and romance with Bobby Willis (who became her husband and manager), being portrayed in a TV series.  Once she read the script though, she felt reassured and once she saw the TV show she was thrilled.

Cilla was born Priscilla Maria Veronica White in 1943, but when she signed a recording contract with Brian Epstein in 1963, he changed her name to Cilla Black.  When Cilla sang with her friends, The Beatles, Brian came along but a poor choice of song meant he left early and Cilla almost gave up. Fate was on her side though, as he heard her singing again and this time the rock song delivered and he signed her up.  The first recording failed to make a mark, but once they’d selected the right song ‘Anyone Who Has A Heart’ hit the number one slot in 1964, Cilla’s career was assured.

Adapting his TV series for the stage musical, Jeff Pope has concentrated on these early years up until the launch of Cilla’s own TV series for the BBC in 1967, which ran until 1976.

Fellow Liverpudlian Bill Kenwright, seized the opportunity to turn the successful TV mini-series into a stage show and Cilla the Musical opened in September 2017 at the Liverpool Empire and has been touring ever since. Giving a fantastic performance as Cilla is Buckinghamshire lass Kara Lily Hayworth.  She nails the accent, humour and character of one of the UK’s best-loved personalities.  Kara’s voice is stunning and she commands the stage with her presence and has the same star quality as Cilla, so expect to see and hear a lot more of her over the coming years.

Carl Au plays Bobby Willis, the totally besotted man who becomes indispensible to Cilla and gives up his own career potential to take care of her. Andrew Lancel is the manager, Brian Epstein, who adores Cilla but has a self-destruct button that can’t be switched off.  Neil MacDonald (as Cilla’s dad John White) has brilliant comic timing and is a joy to watch.

Supported by a talented cast of musicians, dancers and singers, this really is a fabulous night’s entertainment.  The costumes were stunning, particularly the long glittery dresses designed to maximise Cilla’s famous red hair.

The Waterside Theatre has a special connection with Cilla, as she opened the theatre in October 2010.  She went on to appear in Cinderella and I’ll never forget her entrance flying in wearing a long gold sequined dress with a long train...amazing!

Cilla’s memory and the legacy of her work will never be forgotten and she will always be fondly remembered by her adoring public.  This is a wonderful tribute and everyone was on their feet at the end singing and dancing along.  Adding in an extra song (which I didn’t know) after that made everyone sit down and I wasn’t sure that it actually added anything to the show, but that was only my observation and it’s a great night out!

The show runs at The Waterside to Saturday 14th April and from 17th-21st April at Norwich Theatre Royal.  Further tour dates will be available later this year.

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

10.04.18

@yvonnedelahaye

Mar 20th

Strangers on a Train @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

 Strangers on a Train tickets

Have you ever wondered anything about your fellow passengers when you’re travelling by train?  Nowadays some people seem to enjoy having long conversations on their mobiles with no thought as to who is listening, so you get to know more than you ever wanted!  But, what if you were on a long journey and got chatting to someone over a drink or three, who turned out to be a psychopath?  That’s the premise of Strangers on a Train, written in 1950 by Patricia Highsmith and turned into a psychological thriller film noir by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951. The film starred Farley Granger, Ruth Roman and Robert Walker and is number 32 on AFI’s 100 Years...100 Thrills.

Turning this classic into a stage play must have been extremely challenging on many levels.  Just how do you recreate a train and a series of rooms and sets?  Clockwork Scenery has designed and constructed a set that is absolutely incredible and deserves a huge credit for making this play work.  I couldn’t quite work out how they’d done it, but all I can say is it’s brilliantly clever and effective.  The play is written by Craig Warner, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith.

Without giving anything away, the play opens on the train as two strangers get drunk together and Guy Haines (played by Call The Midwife’s Jack Ashton) bemoans the fact that his wife won’t divorce him.  Charles Bruno (Chris Harper) has a novel suggestion for dealing with this situation....

Chris Harper became a reviled soap villain playing the manipulative Nathan in Coronation Street, who lured Bethany into a life of prostitution.  Thankfully as soon as he started speaking in a very good American accent, we lost all traces of Nathan and accepted him as Charles Bruno.  He totally inhabits the role of this deranged psychopath, giving a dangerous and energetic performance that is totally compelling to watch.  With a good body of theatre work, including Shakespeare, to his credit I think Chris has a long and successful career ahead of him.  At the moment he is carving out a niche playing dark, tortured characters, but I suspect he could also play comedy equally well.

John Middleton is best known for playing Ashley Thomas in Emmerdale and recently won Best Actor and Best Male Dramatic Performance at the 2017 British Soap Awards.  Here he plays the family friend, who used to be a policeman, Arthur Cerard who has an inkling of what’s been happening.

Helen Anderson, as Elsie Bruno, gives a good rounded performance as the mother of Charles who loves her boy no matter what he does.  Hannah Tointon plays Anne Faulkner who tries to understand why the man she loves has become distant and preoccupied.

The first 20 minutes need some concentration to get drawn into the intimate setting of the train and tune into the American accent, but after that the action moves on apace.  The play continues at The Waterside Theatre until Saturday 24th March 2018 and from 27th-31st March at New Theatre, Cardiff.

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

19.3.18

@yvonnedelahaye

Mar 13th

The Barricade Boys @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

Opening a show with a ballad is a high-risk strategy, but if I’d been a judge on The Voice I’d have turned my chair on the first note!  With the angelic vocals of Simon Schofield launching into ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, joined by the rest of the Barricade Boys with tight harmonies, the audience were captivated within seconds.  It was a superb start to what was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time.

The Barricade Boys was formed by Simon and Scott Garnham, two very seasoned West End Musical Theatre performers.  All of the team are industry professionals and the show was created to provide superior entertainment for the professional theatre market and corporate industry.  The Barricade Boys have played major roles in musical theatre from The Phantom of the Opera, Wicked and Billy Elliott to Jersey Boys, The Sound of Music and, of course, Les Miserables.

Since forming two years ago, they’ve toured the world on cruises, appeared at St James Theatre on Broadway with TV appearances including The Paul O’Grady Show and This Morning.  From 5th-23rd December 2017, the boys had a residency at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new theatre The Other Palace and featured an array of special guests including Matt Lucas, Michael Xavier and Rachel Tucker.

After the first number, the boys introduced themselves and upped the tempo to sing Stuck in the Middle With You, then a medley from The Blues Brothers, followed by Volaire before being joined by kids from the Pauline Quirke Academy.  It’s a great idea to involve a local stage school as you’re guaranteed seats will be filled with proud family and friends and it helps to connect with the audience even more.  A mix of songs from Motown and the hauntingly beautiful Going Home song from Les Miserables followed, ending the first half with songs from Jersey Boys

The second act opened with the boys being joined again by the Pauline Quirke Academy to sing A Million Dreams, from the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman.  After some rock n’ roll, there was a lovely 4-part harmony version of Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.  These guys can sing anything and adapt to all genres of music, so the challenge was to create a jazz/swing song from the comedy song Master of the House.  As a jazz singer myself, I loved it and it really did work.

Supported by The Barricade Boys band, keyboard player and MD James Doughty had his own chance to shine, with a storming version of It Don’t Mean a Thing, showing his incredible vocals talents as well.

Next came a disco era of songs from the 70s, squeezing in a fabulous rendition of Uptown Funk as well, followed by a magnificent version of Bohemian Rhapsody.  They couldn’t forget The Beatles influence on pop music and sang a couple of numbers to finish.  The audience were on their feet stomping and clapping for more, so the encore had to be another song from Les Miserables, One More Day.

Their versatility, incredible vocals and harmonies, dance moves, energy, enthusiasm and stage presence make this a show not to be missed.  I was smiling all the way through, singing along to the songs and wished I qualified to become one of the team, but I’m the wrong gender!  They were having so much fun and the theatre was filled with a warmth and happiness that rarely happens.  Book your ticket NOW, it’ll be one of the best decisions you make!

Tour dates can be found on

http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-barricade-boys/

This week:

Wednesday 14th @ Grand Opera House, York

Thursday 15th @ Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone

Saturday 17th @ Victoria Hall, Stoke-on-Trent

Sunday 18th @ Southport Theatre & Convention Centre, Southport

For more details about The Barricade Boys:

https://www.barricadeboys.com/

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

@yvonnedelahaye

12th March 2018

 

 

 

Mar 7th

Son of a Preacher Man @ The Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

By Yvonne Delahaye

  Son of a Preacher Man Tickets at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre,

Dusty Springfield was born Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O’Brien on 16th April 1939 in West Hampstead, but was brought up in High Wycombe until the early 50s.  Starting her career in 1958, Mary was a folk singer and joined a band called the Lana Sisters, leaving them in 1960 to form a pop-folk trio with her brother Tom called The Springfields.  They chose the name whilst rehearsing in a field and so ‘Dusty Springfield’ was created.

One of the few female singers who were iconic enough to be known just by their first names, Dusty enjoyed huge chart success throughout the 60s. With her rich mezzo-soprano voice, she garnered fans from around the globe and had hit after hit. The Look of Love was written by Burt Bacharach for the 1967 Bond parody Casino Royale and was nominated for an Oscar for best song.

After the huge international success of Mama Mia, there’s been a huge demand for shows based on the music of some of the best known singers.  Son of a Preacher Man is set in a former Soho club, where three broken-hearted people meet to try and find the ‘Preacher Man’ to help heal their hearts.  Trying to match lyrics with a storyline is not an easy task and this conceit is very clunky and at times ridiculous.

The actors try their best to believe in this ludicrous plotline and I really felt for them as it’s so hard to give credibility to this bunkum.  There were some very odd decisions taken which had the audience laughing for all the wrong reasons, e.g. someone popping in and out with a trombone, dancing with a chair as if in love with it and ending a song with everyone collapsing on the floor….?  We were all looking at one another in disbelief! 'Wishin' & Hoping' took on a new meaning.....

The second act was a fraction better than the first and there was a very good version of ‘A House is Not a Home’.  The songs of course are what people want to hear and if you can filter out the rest of the show I’m sure people will go home singing ‘I Only Want to Be With You’, ‘The Look of Love’, ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ and ‘Son of a Preacher Man’. 

A new authorised biographical musical 'Dusty' is in production and starts touring in June.  Meanwhile, if you’re a big fan of the songs, Son of a Preacher Man tours the UK till 2nd July and continues at The Waterside until Saturday 10th March.  www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury

 

Reviewed by:

Yvonne Delahaye

6.3.18

@yvonnedelahaye