4 / 5
Click on the link below to listen to an audio review of this production by Karis Clarke.
This was my first outing to Venue Cymru and I wasn’t disappointed. Set on the stunning North Wales coastline the venue was alive with activity. The atmosphere was light and expectation high as several audience members dashed around in habits!
Sister Act is the musical comedy based on the movie starring Whoopi Goldberg, and, unless you were living in a convent yourself back in 1992, it is highly unlikely you don’t have some knowledge of the film. (It’s popularity has ensured a regular repeats on TV at least once a year since circa 1995).
The stage version, unlike the film is set in the diva disco era of the 70’s and features original music from ALAN MENKEN, and the general feel of the show has Mowtown vibe that is more than fitting to the outstanding vocal talents of the lead.
But it’s not all about the star in this show. Deloris Van Cartier is a fantastic character full of witty one liners, side ways glances and comical physicality that Alexander Burke pulls off admirably. However the ensemble made the show for me. The combined talents of the supporting cast were superior. Acting, singing dancing and playing a variety of musical instruments on set allowed for a fluidity which you can sometimes loose with larger productions. However this cast owned the stage, literally, they knew every inch. Their management of the stage movement is a credit to Revel Horwood’s direction. The scene changes were flawless and were choreographed to perfection.
Credit should also be given to the set design, the main stay an impressive church interior yet with the cleaver use of lighting and props it easily faded into the background and made the transition between church, nightclub, street, police station and back to church with very little effort.
The musicality was, as one of the songs repeats, ‘Fab -U- Lous Baby,’ unfortunately this was also a slight disappointment for me as none of the songs from the movie were featured. So although the end of the play saw the majority of the full house clapping and on their feet I am sure if “I will follow him” had been played the roof would have lifted. However the original score was witty, befitting and more than enjoyable. It’s easy to see how Alan Menken has Oscars under his belt.
Stand out moments of the show were any time the “gangsters” featured. (They stole the show a little bit from the nuns). …..Joe Vetch (playing Eddie the sweaty police officer who saves the day) singing “I could be that guy ……Sister Mary Robert played by Alice Stokoe, who had a stunning voice singing a very Disney esq type song called “The Life I Never Had”…….. and the scene when the Sisters stand together for Deloris.
All in all there was nothing not to like, the show delivered everything thing it promised. One particular moment I found touching was on the final bow Alexandra Burke broke the fourth wall and you saw her thank the audience. She genuinely seemed to appreciate the standing ovation they received and this shone through as she skipped off stage laughing with co cast not as Deloris but as herself and within those few seconds, in my eyes I saw true star quality.
So unless you have lead in your feet and no soul in your heart I defy you not to enjoy this 4 stars production. Unfortunately for North Wales the runs ends on May 27th but you can still catch performances around the UK up until the 3rd September check www.sisteractuktour.co.uk for more details.
Starring ALEXANDRA BURKE and Directed and choreographed by Strictly CRAIG REVEL HORWOOD, Set and Costume MATTHEW WRIGHT (based on TheTouchtone Motion Picture “Sister Act”)