Sister Act, the musical, is playing at the Theatre Royal Nottingham until 13th May. Daisy Forster reviews.
This showstopping performance, based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, put a smile on my face from start to finish. Featuring music by Alan Menken (who wrote most of the much-loved Disney soundtracks from the 90s), this show makes you go ‘how did the film not always have these songs in?’
From entry into the auditorium, the 70’s music playing, pink lights, and disco ball set a joyful mood that continued until curtain call. The set was simple for the most part, but effective, with the juxtaposition of church-like imagery and neon lights.
If I had to name one criticism for this show, it would be that during company numbers, most of the cast were wearing black and white, and the lack of colour meant that sometimes the visual design of the stage didn’t quite match up to the energy that the cast were putting in. However, this definitely didn’t detract from the overall experience of the show.
Lizzie Bea brought enviable power to her performance
Sandra Martin headed up the cast as Deloris Van Cartier, the flamboyant singer who witnesses her gangster boyfriend shoot someone. Martin brought maturity, authenticity, and humour to the role. Her rendition of the titular song Sister Act was a particular highlight for me; it was incredibly poignant in its simplicity.
Lizzie Bea (who just happened to have the same singing teacher as me – an embarrassing thing for me to admit), brought enviable power to her performance as the timid Sister Mary Robert. That woman sure has a pair of lungs, and she brought a subtler dimension to Mary Robert, one that I hadn’t seen before.
The comedy number was expertly executed by the three actors, and it had me laughing the whole way through
Anne Smith as Sister Mary Lazarus (the nun who raps) was particularly memorable for me, as well as Lesley Joseph who brought class and nuance to the role of Mother Superior. The lovable male lead, Eddie, was played by Clive Rowe (bizarrely also Duke in Tracy Beaker); he and Martin had a sweet on-stage chemistry that worked to contrast Deloris’ relationship with Curtis, the gangster (Mark Goldthorp).
Another highlight was Lady in the Long Black Dress, a trio sung by Curtis’ group of idiotic lackeys (Damien Buhagiar, Tom Hopcroft, Bradley Judge). The comedy number was expertly executed by the three actors, and it had me laughing the whole way through.
All in all, Sister Act was truly Fabulous, Baby! I would recommend anyone head down to the Theatre Royal if they are in need of a pick-me-up, because this show is sure not to disappoint.
Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
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