Son of a Preacher Man – Bradford Alhambra

WITH THE classic songs of Dusty Springfield as its soundtrack, how can a musical possibly go wrong?

In a whole host of ways, as this mish-mash of strange story ideas, half-baked musical set pieces and lacklustre performances proves.

The setting is Soho where in the 1960s the Preacher Man dispensed advice on matters of the heart to the young customers of his record shop.

Fast forward to the present-day, as three individuals from three generations seek the Preacher Man's advice on their own messy love lives.

What they find is a coffee shop in place of the vinyl den, and the son of the Preacher Man, a dopey young man who is definitely the last person they should seek advice from.

Cue complicated – and hardly ever hilarious – adventures as our eponymous hero tries to sort things out.

The contrived title, never fully developed, is only the first of many misfires that make this show often unbearable to watch.

Script, dancing, characterisation, acting, unexpected appearances of horn players from sidestreets... there were many jawdropping moments, but few of of them good.

As for the singing – the most important component in a show using songs from one of the most powerful, soulful voices in pop – where it should be exceptional, it's rarely better than "acceptable".

* Until Saturday, visit or call 01274 432000 to book tickets.

David Knights