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Sister Act

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Don’t miss this eagerly anticipated 2023 Olivier Award-nominated production of the Broadway and UK smash hit musical Sister Act.

Disco diva Deloris’ life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder. Placed under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she shouldn’t be found – a convent! Encouraged to help the struggling choir, she helps her fellow sisters find their true voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.

Featuring original music by Tony® and 8-time Oscar® award-winner Alan Menken (Disney’s Aladdin, Enchanted) and songs inspired by Motown, soul and disco, this heavenly musical is joyous and uplifting in equal measures. A musical sent from above, Sister Act is the brilliant, must-see show which raises the spirits and warms the soul time after time.

Sister Act Tickets

London

London

Dominion Theatre

Wed 12 Jun 2024 - Sat 31 Aug 2024

Our review on Sister Act

Sister Act - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Monday 18th March 2024 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating
SISTER ACT HAS HILARITY, HALOS AND HAPPINESS RUNNING THROUGH EACH AND EVERY ONE OF ITS ROSARY BEADS

The rockin’, boppin, diva Deloris is back in Manchester and is still fabulous baby!  And more than that, this show will leave you feeling fabulous too for it raises your spirits as well as the rafters with its high energy, soul soaring songs, and cracking comedy.  Sister Act knows exactly how and when to pull you into its heavenly arms, but also has a little shimmy with the devil along the way, ensuring that this musical blesses everyone who is fortunate enough to secure a ticket!  So, glory be to the musical theatre Gods for answering all my prayers with such an incredible night of theatre!


Our whirlwind nightclub singer Deloris storms the stage in a fabulous frenzy of electricity, but her thunderous boyfriend strikes lightening bolts into the hearts of anyone who crosses him.  When Deloris witnesses him commit murder, it’s time to exit stage right.  But these are dangerous people and so it isn’t enough to simply tuck herself away in the wings.  Besides, Deloris isn’t exactly someone who easily blends into a crowd with her larger than life personality.  And so it is that she finds herself under police protection with a new identity.  Where is safer to hide out than in a convent right?  As Deloris begrudgingly takes on a new persona as Sister Mary Clarence, she starts to discover she is capable of so much more than her old life was offering her.  Charged with putting her skills to use and leading the convents struggling choir, Deloris learns just as much as she teaches.  She takes the nuns quirks, their loyalties, their love into her heart and in return fills theirs with a passion for music and a newfound self-belief.  But Deloris once danced with the devil Curtis, and he is coming back to stake his claim on her soul.  As he discovers her hiding place in the convent and tries to bring darkness to the purity of their sanctuary, Deloris learns the power of unconditional love from her Sisters.  Throw in the opportunity to perform for The Pope being risked by Curtis, and you’ll see a side to nuns you never dreamed possible!


The stage will take your breath away with a mirage of the most glorious stained glass window designs, mesmerising you with a wealth of dazzling colour.  It’s like a rainbow has come alive and dressed the set!  The design, created by the expertise of Morgan Large is not only magnificent and full of stature with its arches, but is equally minimalistic so that it never complicates, only ever enhances each scene.  These slick features make it entirely possible to be taken from the sanctity of Church to a riotous nightclub, a police station, or an apartment (with many secret hiding places for nuns) in a heartbeat.  Morgan Large’s costumes are brilliant too and he manages to balance the simplicity of the nuns habits, with the flamboyancy of Deloris’ world, and the alter ego of Curtis and his team of gangsters.  Watch out for the finale too!  It’s an explosion of sequined delight that celebrates fashion and puts the show in showbiz!

And all of that is before I even mention that the sensational music is penned by none other than multi award winning Alan Menken!  I mean, come on!  What’s not to love here?  With lyrics by Glenn Slater, this score will show you exactly how its done when it comes to the feel good factor.  It is pure joy and will raise your spirits to the heavens and beyond.  When a show opens with a belter like Take Me To Heaven, it sets its own standard, and it doesn’t disappoint once.  Whether you are moving and shaking along to Fabulous Baby, belly laughing at the hilarious It’s Good To Be A Nun, or listening in utter amazement at the sensational Raise Your Voice, you will fall in love with these songs and be humming them for the foreseeable.


Sue Cleaver
(Coronation Street, Dinner Ladies) has the perfect humour to play Mother Superior and delivers it with eye watering impact.  I was genuinely crying with laughter for she has absolutely nailed the character whilst equally bringing her own unique twist to it.  The technique of humour at play is mesmerising, ensuring you laugh at things you didn’t even think could be funny!  And the detail is brilliant, such as when she hitches her habit up and we see one sock is pulled up and the other one has given up hope and fallen down.  She is able to speak a thousand words with one raised eyebrow, one prolonged breath or one eye roll.  Sue Cleaver had this entire Manchester audience on her side tonight, and deservedly so.  

Landi Oshinowo (Matilda, The Colour Purple) is insanely talented as Deloris.  What a voice!  Her energy is not only relentless but also contagious for her performance makes you believe that you too can move mountains, take on the bad guys and win!  She plays Deloris with a fresh kind of sass that is uniquely her own, a charming humour and a hint of vulnerability.  She redefines what a diva can be, and relaces the negative connotations of this word with a powerful positivity.  Eloise Runnette (Professional debut) is sublime as Sister Mary Roberts.  Be prepared to drop your jaw and be so stunned at her brilliance that you forget to pick it back up again during her solo ‘The Life I Never Led.’  Talk about being wowed.  It was heartfelt, humbling and will give you goosebumps.  And her range!  Mariah eat your heart out!  Alfie Parker (Fat Friends, Kinky Boots) as Eddie is someone else who you can’t help rooting for.  A seemingly reserved and shy character, we get a true sense of the real person lurking underneath when he dazzles us with a solo performance you won’t forget!  Costume reveals, charisma, charm, and a sultry voice make you fall in love with Eddie.  He has the audience eating out of the palm of his hand as the show goes on and I am living for it!  He knows how to control his voice, when to hold back, and when to let loose for maximum impact and the result is special.


Ian Gareth-Jones (Mary Poppins, Only Fools & Horses) plays the villainous Curtis with a demanding strength and power.  You never doubt he is in charge or that he could turn on a knife edge at any moment.  His solo When I Find My Baby is so good that you find yourself bopping along to his murderous plans, and it is testimony to his skills for it’s a song of duplex meanings.  Isabel Canning (White Christmas, The Witches Of Eastwick) is superb as the excitable Sister Mary Patrick.  You feel her energy and her performance is filled with such detailed nuances that you kind of feel like you wish you knew her and you are rooting for her throughout.  She is like an adorable puppy who you can’t help but love and she never stops performing.  Her dancing in their first church performance under Deloris immediately grabbed the audience’s attention and had us in stiches.  Julie Stark (We Will Rock You, Head Over Heels) is brilliant as the rapping nun - Sister Mary Lazarus.  This moment is always a highlight of the show, and Stark absolutely kills it.  She is brilliant at portraying the comedic contradictions and watching her street dance in a habit one minute, and being a devout nun the next makes her a legend!  I could sit here and happily write glorious things about every cast member, from Phillip Arran who allows his rigid character to let loose and rock his Elton John glasses, to Kate Powell and Wendy-Lee Purdy as daydreaming and rockin’ nuns, or Elliot Gooch, Michalis Antoniou and Callum Martin as the brilliantly gormless and delusional members of Curtis’ gang.


Sister Act
has hilarity, halos and happiness running through each and every one of its rosary beads.  With quick wit, deadpan deliveries and observational humour woven through a glorious musical theatre hymn book of songs, the feelings of elation rise higher and higher until you realise you have jaw ache from the grin that is emblazoned across your face.  As the nuns enter singing perilously out of tune with each other, you instinctively know this show just has that magical ‘it.’  Besides, it takes some real skill for a cast this good to sound that bad, before they sound so good again.  One of my favourite ‘blink and you miss it’ lines of all time is in this show when referring to a bold fashion choice of a blue coat, “You killed a smurf.”  The script is quick, fierce, and fabulous, and there is something inherently funny about taking nuns and making them disco dance and shake their tush!  It’s the joy of the unexpected I guess, and the brilliant way it challenges preconceived notions of who nuns are.  Sister Act is a comedy master at playing with perception, colluding with contradictions and igniting irony.  A perfect example of this, as well as nuns in a nightclub, are the death threats from Curtis, dressed up in a love song and performed with all the cheerful cheesiness of a heart throb boy band!  Throw in a drag queen, plenty of sparkles, and showbiz glamour and you’ve got yourself a party my friend!  Sister Act has fed my soul with a blissful euphoria that will leave me smiling for days.  The music is joyous, the harmonies heavenly, and the story triumphant.  Sister Act is heaven sent!



WE SCORE SISTER ACT...

Our review on Sister Act

Sister Act - Palace Theatre, Manchester - Monday 4th July 2022 by Karen Ryder

Our Rating

If we ever needed a sign that on the 6th day God created Manchester, then here it is!


The Palace Theatre Manchester is the only venue on the Sister Act tour to see the addition of Jennifer Saunders and Keala Settle to an already angelic cast!  Hallelu and glory be to the musical theatre Gods!  Having seen Sister Act in London many years ago at The Palladium, I still remember how it generously fed my soul with a blissful euphoria and left me smiling for days.  The music is joyous, the harmonies heavenly, and the story triumphant.  Add to that a cast that can rock the rafters and Sister Act is heaven sent!

 

Fabulous nightclub singer Deloris has a not so fabulous boyfriend, and when this leads to her witnessing a murder, the safest option is for her to go into police protection and take on a new identity.  So where is safer to hide out than in a convent right?  As Deloris takes on a new persona as Sister Mary Clarence, her daily life becomes less about hiding out and more about helping the convents failing choir.  She takes the nuns into her heart and fills theirs with a love of music and a newfound self-belief.  As we get to know these beautiful characters souls, a paradox of evil is closing in on the purity of the convent as Curtis and his gang uncover Deloris’ hiding place.  But with a dream come true opportunity to perform for The Pope at risk, Deloris refuses to hide away, leaving the nuns to defend their sister in ways they never knew possible!

 

 

Sister Act is hilarious!  From the one liners, the lyrics, the actors movements and facial expressions – it has comedy running through each and every one of its rosary beads.  The audience are laughing from the get-go when the nuns appear on stage, singing so out of tune with each other, that your funny bone is immediately tickled, and it doesn’t ever get a rest.  A blue fur coat is presented, followed by the line – “You killed a smurf!”  Mother Superior is told, “You took a vow of charity.”  She replies deadpan, “I give it back!”  Song lyrics see our disco dancing nuns singing about shaking their booties, a love song from gangster Curtis proposes disembowelling your girlfriend, whilst his gang dance along to the death threats with the perfectly cheesy 1970’s boy band groove moves.  This number is superbly performed by Jeremy Secomb, Bradley Judge, Damian Buhagiar, and Tom Hopcroft.  These kinds of juxtapositions can be found throughout and are brilliantly clever and never fail to have the audience in stitches.  I can guarantee you will laugh from beginning to end and find your jaw is genuinely aching from smiling and laughing so much.  Nightclub singers, nuns, police, gangsters and drag queens fill the stage with glitz, glamour, and godliness, making Sister Act a hard Act to follow.   

 

 

The set is magnificent in its apparent simplicity, but this eloquence has clearly been well thought out.  It doesn’t over complicate but enhances and completely encompasses every scene, whether it be the sanctity of the Church, a shimmering disco ball nightclub, a police station, or an apartment with many secret hiding places for nuns who you can’t shake from your mind.  It switches to each location with a slick speed and ease, enhancing everything and everyone on stage.  Morgan Large not only designed an engaging set but brilliant costumes, particularly for the finale, which will take you breath away.

 

Throughout the show I kept thinking “Ooh – this is my favourite song……no…..this is my favourite song!”  There are just so many to chose from that elevate your endorphins that it’s a little bit like being a kid in a sweet shop.  Do I pick the grand choral opener Take Me To Heaven, the fierce and fabulous, Fabulous Baby, the hilarious How I Got The Calling, or the sensational Raise Your Voice? Many audience members were wise enough to go and grab the CD at the interval so they can listen again and again to help them decide.  The music is brand new and is not the music you will have heard in the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, but I beg of you, don’t let this put you off or feel disappointed because I promise you will not feel that way by the end.  You’re more likely to feel disappointed that it’s taken you till now to discover such a wonderful new score!

 

 

Multiple award winner Jennifer Saunders plays Mother Superior.  Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous, French & Saunders, Shrek & BAFTA Fellowship) literally left me crying with laughter.  It is the first time I have seen her live, but I swear it was worth the wait.  She is pure comedy gold and it is clear why she is a national treasure.  From the moment she came on stage, the whooping and cheering told of the respect and love the audience had for her and not for a nano second did she falter.  Every nuance, every breath she takes has purpose.  She has truly made this part her own, and her comic timing, ad libs and details make for a comedy masterclass.  She shushes herself, it’s funny.  She pulls her habit away from her ears, it’s funny.  She looks shocked – yes it’s funny.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  From her opening monologue, where she addresses the audience directly, to her musical solos, to her self-deprecation at the end where she claims the other singer is “a little pitchy”, this was a very special performance I shall never forget.

 

Olivier award nominated Lesley Joseph (Birds Of A Feather, Young Frankenstein, Annie) is possibly the other funniest nun I have ever seen, as Sister Mary Lazarus.  Hearing her rap (in Latin!), and watching her street dance dressed as a nun, in a posh voice, has made my life!  She is quite capable of stealing this whole show, yet she allows herself to blend into the ensemble of sisters with a humble generosity that makes me love her even more.  Her stamina is beyond words, her facial expressions crease you with laughter one moment, then make you want to hug her the next.  Joseph is an absolute legend and I can’t believe I got to watch two strong, empowering female comedians in one show!

 

 

Keala Settle (The Greatest Showman, Les Mis, & Juliet) is sensational as Sister Mary Patrick.  I wasn’t the only one to feel I was in the presence of greatness, and the moment she lets rip with that incredible voice, I wanted to cry happy tears.  Her acting was just gorgeous as the excitable Sister Mary Patrick and it became harder and harder to tear your eyes away from her as she embodied the character throughout, meaning that even when she wasn’t singing or speaking, she was still always doing something and so was engaging to watch.  The start of act two proved to be a fan girl moment when she walked right past our seats!  Eeeekk!  I’ve just watched Keala Settle sing live people!!!  Sister Act truly is the show that keeps on giving! 

 

Sandra Marvin (Waitress, Emmerdale, City Of Angels) rocks the Palace Theatre to its rafters as Deloris Van Cartier.  She has some huge shoes to fill playing the role that Whoopi created, but she not only fills them, she’ll make you go out and buy them in every colour!  What an absolute star!  Marvin commands the stage with her high energy, her soulful voice, and I think the best compliment I can give and what hopefully sums up the outrageous talent of Marvin is that after her performance, and in no disrespectful terms, you’ll forget all about Whoopi, because it will seem that the part was created entirely for Marvin.

 

Manchester welcomes back Lizzie Bea (Heathers, Hairspray, Kinky Boots) as Sister Mary Roberts.  Boy can this girl sing.  Still the best Tracy Turnblad I have ever seen, Bea once again created a moment for herself in her solo The Life I Never Led, wowing Manchester for the second time.  I just love her and her magical singing pipes.  To carve a standout moment for yourself in such a huge cast is testament to her talent.  The audience went wild for her solo, and her comedy moments too and I can’t wait to follow her career.

 

 

Olivier Award winning Clive Rowe (Guys & Dolls, Sweet Charity, Carousel) is endearing as Eddie Souther.  He starts out as a quiet character, but explodes into this Barry White-esque love god, with his luxurious deep, soulful voice and his triple costume reveal that any drag queen would be proud of.  You find yourself routing for him throughout and he has a brilliant solo I Could Be That Guy, where he certainly knows how to win over a crowd.  Graham Macduff (Singing In The Rain, Anything Goes, Phantom) as Monsignor O’ Hara goes from serious to silly with great comedic progression, and other cast members such as Tricia Deighton and Lori Haley Fox create the brilliance of ensemble that makes the show so illuminating.

 

Sister Act is a celebration of the joy that music brings!  Whether you have any form of faith or not, this music by Alan Menken (The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin, Little Shop Of Horrors) and fantastic lyrics by Glenn Slater, will make your soul soar with serotonin, and dopamine will disco through your entire body.  A celestial blend of gospel, soul, and disco, I would seriously get yourself to the doctors if your spirits aren’t raised by this glorious music.  There is just something inexplicably and inherently funny about disco dancing nuns.  Maybe it’s the joy of the unexpected, maybe it’s the habits highlighting their faces for comedic magnificence, or maybe it’s just that we are all a little weird, but tonight, Manchester certainly loved a divine disco diva named Deloris.  Leave your confessions at the door, worship at the Palace Theatre, and bask in the higher power that is Sister Act!

 

WE SCORE SISTER ACT – 10/10
 

 

 

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