Son of a Preacher Man
Grubby Gnome Productions
Author Barbara Dobson explores the complexities and pitfalls of modern relationships with Son of a Preacher Man. Thomas (James Coare) works with children from dysfunctional families and shows an admirable open mind when dealing with the inevitable problems in a non-judgemental manner. Yet Thomas is not so perceptive in his personal life and has become fixated on Jacob who, although bisexual, is in a relationship with a woman and an objective observer might say is stringing Thomas along.
Dobson tells the story from Thomas’s subjective viewpoint, yet it is hard to see the attraction of Jacob, who seems an unpleasant character solely interested in his own pleasure. The script is refreshingly ambiguous, letting the audience decide if Jacob’s response to Thomas’s advances is justified or simply another aspect of his selfish outlook.
James Coare’s performance suggests Thomas has deeper problems than just misreading signs of attraction. Thomas is desperately unhappy and possibly clinically depressed. His speeches are full of deep sighs and in every scene, he is either compulsively smoking or eating. This is not someone who is contented with life. Thomas’s actions indicate he is someone who deserves happiness but his neediness may deter potential lovers and leave him open to exploitation.
Son of a Preacher Man is hardly an uplifting play but serves as a cautionary look at modern relationships and a portrait of a deeply unhappy individual.
Reviewer: David Cunningham