The vintage charm of Stockport’s Plaza Theatre and Super Cinema has played host to many retro greats over the years and so it was a delight to play witness to the emulation of 60s icon Mary Isobel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien OBE, or Dusty Springfield as she was better known, performed tonight by Emily Clark, supported by the amazing vocal talent of The Shades of The 60s trio Rebecca Lauren, Jazmin Patey-Ford and Kerri Rae and incredible dancers,The “Dusters”, Leanne Kyte and Erina Lewis.
Directed by seasoned professional Matt Brinkler (whose other presentations include Cilla and The Shades of the 60s and Spice Girls Tribute ‘Wannabe’) and choreographed excellently by Rebecca Jeffrey (worked with Steps), the countdown at the start (although suffered slightly, as did other elements, due to the lack of balance between vocal and piped sound - adapted by Arima Music UK and mixed by James Smith) and lighting (by Sam Lisher) make this show so enjoyable as you are taken back to the 60s, with the set (by David Shields) acting as a recording studio, TV studio and Casino Royale, as we were taken a trip across the four decades in which Dusty’s hits were originally so popular.
With flashbacks to Abba winning Eurovision, the Titanic winning its Oscar, Lennon being assassinated and us first putting man on the moon, we were welcomed to the show by the Shades and their perfectly harmonious version of Petula Clarke’s ‘Downtown’, The Beatles’ ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ and The Exciters’ ‘Tell Him’, before The Monkees’ I’m A Believer’ (written by Neil Diamond) and Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’. When Emily enters we heard the unmistakable ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ before ‘Son Of A Preacher Man’ and ‘Will You Still Love Me written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and recorded by The Shirelles).’ (
After a very quick change, we then heard a selection of hits written by the renowned Burt Bacharach: ‘I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself’ (lyrics by Hal David), ‘Wishin and Hopin’, ‘Close To You’ and ‘A House Is Not A Home’. As we were transported to 007’s Casino Royale, we were taken to 1967 for Dusty’s ‘The Look Of Love’ and ‘Spooky’. We then reminisced and sported solidarity for those who have been through a breakup with ‘All I see Is You’, ‘Stay A While’ and ‘Take A Piece Of My Heart’.
After the interval, we were welcomed back with a bang and brilliantly colourful (Martha Reeves and the Vandellas) ‘Dancing In The Street’, ‘Heatwave’ and ’Nowhere To Run’, The Supremes’ ‘Keep Me Hangin On’ and Fontella Bass’ ‘Rescue Me’, before ‘I Am Woman’, ‘Love The One You’re With’ and Aretha Franklin’s ‘Think (Freedom)’. We then indulged in The Blues Brothers’ ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’ before returning the showstopper that is Emily Clark’s highly iconic and game-changing rendition of Aretha’s ‘(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman’ (which regrettably followed a spurt of vanity) and the collective show piece of ‘I Say A Little Prayer For You’ and the fun ‘You Don’t Own Me’.
Between this and the finale song, before the finale, we were reminded that Dusty died just one month before her 60th birthday but her success rewarded her with six top 20 US singles. We finished with, one of the most memorable; ‘You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me’.
This show really is a masterpiece and Matt Brinkler and his team should be commended for the conception and construction of it. Despite a few elements that could be tweaked, it is a show not to be missed for any Dusty fan, 60s nostalgic or someone who wants to relive or learn about the great music of the decade.
Reviewer - John Kristof
on - 17/6/18
on - 17/6/18