Dusty and the Shades of the 60s/Swan Theatre, Worcester

VINYL records, mini-skirts, op art, the days when ‘tranny’ meant a small, portable radio set and nothing else… yes, we’re talking about the 1960s once again.

And just when you thought that everything there was to say has been said, along comes this sizzling six-woman show that pays homage to the period and, in particular, the legacy of the late Dusty Springfield.

Eras come and go. And therein lies the attraction, because we feel a sense of loss when the period that applies to our own lives comes to its inevitable end.

So when the next best thing – in this case, a tribute act – comes along, we greet it like a long-lost friend.

And that’s how it was at the Swan on this rainy, blustery March night, as singer and actress Emily Clark’s salute to the great soul sister gradually gathered pace and took us back to the days when rock was enjoying its adolescence.

Ms Clark looks like Dusty, sings like Dusty… and if you’d spent the last half century on another planet and just returned to Earth, you would think this actually was Dusty.

The songs hit the spot time after time. I Only Want to be with You, Wishing and Hoping, Stay Awhile, You Don’t Have to say You Love Me… there must have been many in the audience who quietly reflected on their own memories of this soundtrack to young lives of long ago.

What strikes you is the sheer volume of priceless, glorious songs that emerged during those few years, courtesy of writers such as Burt Bacharach, Hal David, and the Tamla Motown team of Holland-Dozier-Holland.

Whatever the tune, it was putty in the capable hands of Dusty and her Shades. They did the great diva proud, injecting the same energy that gave these numbers life in the first place.

This was a fabulous show and may these talented performers return to Worcester without delay.

John Phillpott