11th November 2015
The Evans Theatre, Wilmslow
Type of Production
Author: Barry Dilworth
Sister Act is based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg. It tells the hilarious story of Deloris Van Cartier, a wannabe diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder and the cops hide her in the last place anyone would think to look—a convent! Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices, helps saves the convent from closure and finds a sisterhood bond that she has never known before.
Featuring original music by Alan Menken (The little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors) the musical uses the Disco sounds of the 70’s rather than the Motown of the original film and has its own peculiar blending of the secular and the semi-sacred music combing great drive, energy, light, shade and fun.
Sister Act calls for an outstanding leading lady and Nicky Mead acted this part of Deloris extremely well, with energy and great comedic timing. The relationship between Deloris and the Mother Superior (Lisa Kay) also came across well and ‘Here within these walls’ was excellent.
The characterisation of the nuns was very good indeed and the bubbliness of Sister Mary Patrick (Heidi Cook) in contrast to the grouchy Sister Mary Lazarus (Alexandra Severn) gave us some great moments, especially the rapping from Mary Lazarus.
Standout vocals came from Sister Mary Robert (Grace Stubbs) with her voice cutting through the chorus numbers, as it should, and a lovely rendition of ‘The life I never led’.
The Nun’s choir sang well to provide us with some uplifting numbers with well worked harmonies and great choreography. It was a shame that the great sound they made was sometimes covered by the imbalance of the vocals with the orchestra and this also was a slight problem in some of the underscoring. Having said that the orchestra under the Musical Directorship of Ed Nurse was one of the best I have heard in both amateur and professional theatres.
On the night there were some technical difficulties with scenery cloths getting stuck at the side of stage and unfortunately the beautiful convent gauze was totally see through at all times and the movement behind was very distracting from the acting taking place in front of it. It was also a shame that the timing of the gun shots didn’t match the action on stage and this did detract from the chase scene which was quite slow in pace.
Being a female dominated show it would be easy to forget the male characters and their input to the story line but Curtis (Bradley Snelling) and his gangsters all performed well with excellent harmonies in ‘When I find my Baby’. I thought that Joey’s (Dominic Dunne) voice was great with enough richness to pull off the Barry White feel in ‘Lady in the long black dress ’. Sweaty Eddie was well played by Sid Smith with nice changes of character in ‘I could be that Guy’ and his long time crush for Deloris definitely came across well. The Monsignor (Peter Garsden) added some great little touches.
This was a great night out at the theatre for anyone who went to watch. Director, Kalini Kent and Choreographer, Alexandra Howarth should be proud of the cast and the quality of performance that had the audience on their feet at the end of the show.
Thanks for all your hospitality on the evening and I look forward to your next production.