FIRST things first, this show isn’t a salacious look into the closeted corners of Dusty Springfield. Nor is it the place to go looking for characters with depth, or plot or any of that flimflam.

What it is, unreservedly, is a wonderfully fun performance that gets the essentials absolutely spot on. That would be the music; Springfield’s much loved hits that managed to bring real depth to the plastic singles format, and echoed the pathos of much of her private life.

All I See Is You, I Only Want To Be With You, In The Middle Of Nowhere and You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me are all present, alongside 16 others, and undimmed by the decades and not just the faint glow of nostalgia.

Many of Dusty’s songs dealt with love lost or unrequited, and this prompts the story of three strangers seeking answers from a Soho record shop preacher man. They have to make do instead with Sheffield actor Ian Reddington. As the disbelieving son, he leads the trio back to happiness.

The principals are able to rise above plot deficiencies, stilted lines and uneven pace. Michael Howe’s Paul practically springs off the stage and gives off charisma by the ton. Debra Stephenson, best known for her comedy and impressions, steals the audience’s heart when an electric backfire prompts a fit of the giggles and a perfectly improvised ad-lib.

Diana Vickers has come a long way since her brush with X-Factor fame and has genuine star quality. Her singing reacquainted this reviewer with his goosebumps, and she is never better than on the rafter-shaking title song. Vickers is able to invest Rochdale lass Kat with life and more than a measure of believability.

Around her revolves a multi-talented band of musicians that weaves the night’s highlights with their horns, saxophones and voices. York graduate Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong stands out from the Cappuccino Sisters chorus, while Lewis Kidd and Liam Vincent-Kilbride each bring charm to their pantomime characters.

The show is directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, and he amazes in neither department. What redeems all is the love for Springfield’s music, which is the true star of the piece.

Son Of A Preacher Man runs at Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday, 7.30pm nightly and 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 3024 or at