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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query simon howe. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday 29 March 2018

Son of a Preacher Man (UK Tour), Storyhouse | Review

Son of a Preacher Man (UK Tour) 
Reviewed on Tuesday 27th March 2018 by Becca Cromwell

Set in modern day Soho, Son of a Preacher Man focuses on the lives of three people dealing with loss and heartbreak who turn to the past to find answers. All three of them end up at a record shop named the Preacher Man, which got its name from the man who ran it. In the 60s, all your troubles would be solved through music and advice from the shop’s owner, making it one of the most popular places of its time.

The story focuses on Kat, who recently lost her grandmother, Alison, who realises she’s in love with someone she can’t have and Paul, who still pines over a man he first fell in love with 40 years ago. The three of them venture to where the shop used to be in a search for advice and closure, only to find it no longer exists. Distraught, they meet the son of the shop’s owner Simon, who is the son of a preacher man. Simon takes it upon himself to help them, and with a little help from his deceased father, does just that.

The storyline is rather cheesy, which is to be expected from a jukebox musical, and features plenty of Dusty Springfield’s hits including The Look of Love, I Only Want To Be With You and of course, Son Of A Preacher Man. There are also plenty of other sixties hits thrown in for good measure, such as Cilla Black’s You’re My World.

Kat, played by Alice Barlow, is a young girl suffering the loss of her grandmother, who turns to her grandmothers’ favourite place, which just so happens to be the Preacher Man, for comfort. Alice is known for playing Rae Wilson on Hollyoaks, and being a previous contestant on The Voice. Alice delivered solid vocals and gave a good performance as Kat, and impressed many of the audience with the sheer quality of her voice.

Alison, played by Michelle Gayle, is a teacher turned tutor who recently lost her Husband, Jim. Alison turns to the Preacher Man for advice on her new love, and learns a lot from it. Michelle Gayle is known for playing Hattie Tavernier in Eastenders, signing a record contract and releasing two albums with BMG and starring on Grange Hill as a child. Michelle gave a good, believable performance, with impressive vocals to match.

Simon is played by Nigel Richards who has had an extensive and impressive career in musical theatre, including Enjrolas and Grantaire in Les Miserables, and the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. Nigel gave a convincing performance as the shy but loveable Simon and I was suitably impressed.

Paul, a man who is still lusting after his first love, is played by Nigel Howe. Nigel has had an affluent career in theatre, TV and Film, with over 40 acting credits to his name on IMDB and almost as many theatre credits. Nigel gave a decent performance as Paul, making the audience really feel for him in the process.

With Craig Revel Horwood choreographing the show, I expected more in terms of choreography, which left me a little disappointed. However, the lack of choreography was made up for by most of the cast members occasionally playing instruments on stage.

Son of a Preacher Man continues its UK tour until July.

Thursday 14 December 2017

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Pantomime), Pavilion Theatre, Worthing | Review

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Pantomime) 
Pavilion Theatre, Worthing 

Reviewed on Wednesday 6th December 2017 by Jackie Duplock

I took my youngest children along ages 9 years and 17 months to watch Snow White, Worthing's Pavilion Theatre pantomime of the year. 

The show took a while to get going, but after the first 15 minutes the performance was in full flow and both children (and adults) were thoroughly enjoying themselves. 

Snow White offered all that you expect and more from Panto: slapstick humour, innuendos and wonderful musical numbers. One of which was of course Chesney Hawkes’ performance of his Number 1 hit, 'One and Only' which had the entire audience up on their feet and (for those old enough to remember it the first time round), singing along. 

The stand out performances of the night came from Cbeebies favourite Richard David-Caine playing Herman the Henchman who really stole the show. Particularly with his fast thinking and witty responses- especially when faced with the children on stage not quite understanding the rules given for the song game they took part in- leading to hilarious results. 

The other performance I felt was particularly outstanding was that from X factor finalist Niki Evans playing the Wicked Queen, she really belted out some fabulous tunes with her powerful voice, as well as acting the role well -a natural performer. Alongside Simon Howe playing Dame Dolly, the chemistry between these two performers really shines through and produces some quality comedy moments. 

This is one of the best Pantomime performances I have seen in a very long time delivering everything you could want and more from a night out at a Panto! 

Snow White at the Pavilion Theatre is definitely the "One and only" Panto to see this festive season, highly recommended!

Snow White runs at the Pavilion Theatre until January 1st 2018.

Thursday 26 October 2017

Son of a Preacher Man (UK Tour), New Theatre Oxford | Review

Son of a Preacher Man (UK Tour) 
New Theatre Oxford 
Reviewed on Tuesday 24th October 2017 by Michelle and Aaron Pont

The present meets the past in Son of a Preacher Man, where 3 lonely hearts go in search of an old record store in Soho, which, during the 1960’s, the legendary Preacher Man was famed for giving out his words of wisdom, a cure to everyone’s ills.  Our lonely-hearts are also in search of Love

Upon finding the old record store, and the son of the Preacher Man, they are heartbroken to see that it is now a rundown, sad café, with none of the spark or life they were expecting. The son of the Preacher Man (Simon) is still living above the café, and with pressure from the lonely-hearts trio, tries to channel his late father’s spirit to help them find true love.

I found myself whisked back to the 1960’s, with the wonderful music of Dusty Springfield performed so well in this cleverly crafted show. 

The Cappuccino Sisters are a delight, a trio of waitresses suitably attired in ‘over-the-top’ 60’s gear, tulle skirts, short-suits and flamboyant headdress, they conjured up images of roller-skating waitresses from 60’s milk bars, especially Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong. They strut their stuff about the stage, playing a range of musical instruments, singing and dancing to the ambiance of the show and taking us back in time.

This is a very impressive addition to the show; rather than having the musicians in the pit, they are a part of the show. Showing off their musical and performance skills throughout.

On the night I was there, understudy Jess Baker took the role of Kat to a high point with an outstanding performance. All credit to Jess with her fabulous accent and beautiful, powerful voice. Michael Howe as Paul was also mesmerising, with his great dance moves and wonderful voice, not to mention his prowess on the guitar. Both were, for me, the standout performers.

Look out for the wonderful rendition of ‘I Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’ sung and danced with chairs.  Yes, chairs. The harmony and movement in this song was wonderful.  

Also, standout performances were Lewis Kidd’s rendition of ‘You don’t have to say you Love me’ and Ellie-Jane Goddard and Michael Howe’s rendition of ‘Spooky’, with Michael on guitar. How dare they all be so talented!

The whole show ‘Unleased the Monster of Love’. Great singing, choreography, stage setting, lighting and topping it all off with wonderful songs made so famous by Dusty, who was almost an Oxford local (lived in High Wycombe), so it is a fitting tribute to her. There were only one or two forgivable missed moments in the script, but that was nothing compared to the fabulous performances. How could you not want to see a show with Dusty’s fabulous hits as inspiration?!

Go and see it!  It’s brilliant!

Son of a Preacher Man runs at the New Theatre Oxford until October 28th before continuing its tour.

Friday 24 November 2017

Son of a Preacher Man (UK Tour), Grand Opera House, Belfast | Review

Son of a Preacher Man (UK Tour)
Grand Opera House, Belfast
Reviewed on Tuesday 21st November 2017 by Damien Murray

With its combination of an all-star line-up of principals and the timeless music made famous by the late Dusty Springfield, this show looked and sounded promising as a good night out at the theatre and expectations were high.

However, incorrectly referred to by many as ‘the Dusty Springfield musical’ (totally not the fault of the producers), this show is neither the Dusty Springfield story nor a bio-musical about her, but rather a style of juke-box musical that features her many hits held together by an unnatural and most ridiculous of storylines.

The complex and convoluted plot revolves around a cross-generational trio of individuals with relationship issues, who, by coincidence, arrive at the same time at a Soho coffee shop (formerly The Preacher Man record shop) in search of an answer to their respective lonely heart problems.

The legendary record-shop owner, the long-dead Preacher Man, had been a sort of agony uncle with an ear and a solution for those with relationship problems back in the 60s and the coffee shop is now under the control of his less-confident son, Simon, played with great experience by Ian Reddington.

Representing the older generation, Michael Howe played Paul, the first of the three troubled individuals, with assurance, while Debra Stephenson’s middle-aged widowed teacher, Alison, was good, but the awkward script didn’t allow her the same opportunity to develop her character to the same extent as the others.

However, the undoubted star of this show was young Diana Vickers, as Kat from the mobile phone generation, who brought a nice balance of humour and great vocals to the show.

Indeed, due to her young age, Vickers was probably the least familiar with the music of Dusty, which makes it even more surprising that she was the one who did the greatest justice to her songs in this show.

The set’s authentic and realistic-looking Soho coffee shop, complete with scene identifying neon signs, was impressive and was, generally, well-used by the talented cast of multi-instrumentalists in the form of on-stage actor musicians, aided by other hidden musicians.

Musically, this was good, but the combination of dodgy vocals from some performers and a few new song arrangements may have disappointed die-hard Springfield fans. 

However, it was the efforts of the majority of the cast and those great songs that saved this show, especially the already mentioned vocals of Vickers and the stand-out harmonies of the three Cappuccino Sisters, played by Michelle Long, Kate Hardisty and Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong.

However, despite its attractive lighting plot, good cast of principals and creative team, this production was sadly let down by its overall slow pace, its weak narrative and Craig Revel Horwood’s unsubtle choreography.

I am led to believe that on-going changes are being made to improve on its weak points … we can only hope that such improvements are in place long before the end of the scheduled tour.