Well as soon as I walked in and sat down, knew that I was in for a good night seeing the stage version of Sister Act. Produced by the original Deloris van Cartier, Whoopi Goldberg. I couldn’t go wrong and nor could my fellow audience members.
Delores Van Carter was going to be every inch of glitzy, gritty, but glamour person, engaging as a club singer. But I was hoping the show would bring alongside, true lessons to be learnt throughout of friendship.
So here is the background to the film and now the show. Deloris van Cartier witnesses a murder at the hands of her ‘gangster’ boyfriend Curtis (Jeremy Secomb) and must go into hiding. She is taken to a Nunnery run by Mother Superior (Lesley Joseph) who initially does not want to get involved in this darker world, but spending time with Deloris (Sandra Marvin) her attitude changes. Mother Superior tasks Deloris with taking charge of the choir, who were awful. Couldn’t hold a note. But had a lot of passion. Eventually Deloris helps the Nuns to get out of their shells and start to produce a beautiful sound, getting the crowds to flock to the almost bankrupt church if there is such a thing. The singing Nuns start to raise a lot of funds which help with the repairs to an already crumbling building.
Sandra Marvin who has the tremendous ability to lead a cast and completely own the stage. There are plenty of big belting numbers for Deloris (Sandra Marvin) to sing throughout the show such and she does so effortlessly. Such songs as ‘Take Me To Heaven’, ‘Fabulous Baby’ and ‘Sister Act’ all of which she delivers with gusto, passion and perfection. What a voice! There are also comedic moments throughout the show some obvious, some leave you chuckling after a while. All were timed with such perfection.
For me Lesley Joseph is a real treat, a tour de-force. Starting off ‘miserable’ and downbeat about Deloris’s presence within the church, and Lesley Joseph’s portrayal is nothing short of genius. She has the ability to just walk on stage, make a few silent gestures, eye roll or make a noise and boom, the audience laugh with her all the way, Lesley is born with funny bones and boy she knew how to use them.
Talking of great voices, Sister Mary Robert (Lizzie Bea). Stole part of the show with her rendition of ‘The Life I Never Led’. It really was a very special moment the hairs on the back of my neck would nit lie flat. Lizzie Bea has an outstanding voice and even though her character is very shy and reserved, she owns every scene she appears in. One of my top theatre performers. I would go as far as to say a casts favourite as well as an audience member.
The comradery between the Nuns is strong and the ‘out of tune’ singing takes some doing especially if you can sing in tune. But later in the show they really do make a beautiful sound. Wonderful harmonies.
Clive Rowe who plays Police Officer, Eddie Souther. Know what he is doing an old pro’ with a voice like velvet, so to see him belting out ‘I Could Be That Guy’ was second to none. The change of uniform into a sparkling suit and back again was brilliant and unexpected. Every time Rowe appears on stage you knew you were in safe hands.
The comical gangsters. TJ (Bradley Judge), Joey (Tom Hopcroft) and Pablo (Damian Buhagiar). Each of them were outstanding. Every time they appeared on stage, their comic timing was on the money. One song, ‘Lady in the Long Black Dress’ enabled them to take the stage and bring us such a great performance. This was worth your ticket money alone. Really. The Audience and I absolutely enjoyed a brilliant laughing 5 minutes!
The stage, a clubhouse one minute and a Church the next was cleverly achieved, with is a rainbow of colour. The lighting designed by Tim Mitchell showed a lot of thought had gone into this production and he got it just right. Lighting can make or break a show Tim’s vision made it just right. Morgan made the set look so real with a large stained glass window effect using projections was so effective at each scene change.
In fact, the whole show is one complete colour experience, full of joy and happiness with the lighting and staging really adding that finishing touch to a great performance from the cast!
So what about the Musical direction? This was in the capable hands of Neil MacDonald and he and the musicians did not disappoint.
If Sister act is near you, then don’t miss it. If you do it will be one of those if only moments, that you will regret.
It is a story of friendship and acceptance, mixed up with an incredible cast, fantastic musical numbers and sparkle to light up so as to be seen from space!
5 stars out of 5.
A cracking good night out.