Sister Act

As a fan of the hit movie, I 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, this production has every inch of the glitz and glamour synonymous with the club singer, alongside the true lesson to be learnt throughout the story of friendship.

I think we may all know the story of Sister Act, but if not, let me fill you in. 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, however after spending time with Deloris (Sandra Marvin) her attitude changes.  Deloris is tasked with taking charge of the choir and eventually brings the Nuns out of their shells to produce a beautiful sound, getting the crowds to flock to the church and thus raising funds to repair the already crumbling building.

Deloris van Cartier is played by Sandra Marvin who has proven her ability to lead a cast and completely own the stage.  There are plenty of big belting numbers for Deloris throughout the show such as ‘Take Me To Heaven’, ‘Fabulous Baby’ and ‘Sister Act’ all of which she delivers with gusto and passion.  There are many comedic moments throughout the show too which are timed to perfection.  Marvin seems born for this role.

Mother Superior played by Lesley Joseph is a real treat.  Spending most of the show ‘miserable’ and downbeat about Deloris’s presence within the church, Joseph’s portrayal is nothing short of genius. She has the ability to just walk on stage, make a few silent gestures and raise a laugh from the audience, I think you call it ‘funny bones’ and she just has it! 

The very quiet and shy Sister Mary Robert is played by Lizzie Bea.  I had previously heard Lizzie’s rendition of ‘The Life I Never Led’ online and was so excited to be seeing this in the flesh. It really is a very special moment with goosebumps aplenty.  Bea has an outstanding voice and even though her character is very shy and reserved, she owns every scene she appears in, cementing her name in musical theatre top tier performers.

There is a strong cast of Nun’s, all of which bring their own joy onto the stage.  The comradery between them is strong and the ‘out of tune’ singing at the beginning of the show is a real art from a group of people who, once straightened out by Deloris, really do make a beautiful sound.

Stand out performance of the night goes to Clive Rowe who plays Police Officer, Eddie Souther.  Rowe is a seasoned performer with a voice like velvet, so to see him belting out ‘I Could Be That Guy’ was second to none, if not for the rather sparkly white suit which appears from underneath his Police uniform.  Every time Rowe appears on stage I have a feeling of warmth as, for me, he could sing the phone book and still be incredible!

I must make mention of Curtis Jackson’s rather comical henchmen in the shape of TJ (Bradley Judge), Joey (Tom Hopcroft) and Pablo (Damian Buhagiar).  Each of them are outstanding every time they appear on stage, with exceptional comical timing.  During their number ‘Lady in the Long Black Dress’ they completely shine, and this moment is worth your ticket money alone.  The audience absolutely lapped it up and I must admit that it was belly laughingly good!

The whole staging is a rainbow of colour.  The lighting by Tim Mitchell is so well placed throughout the show.  The set by Morgan Large remains large stained glass window effect projections which are so effective as the scenes change. In fact, the whole show is one of complete colour, joy and happiness so the lighting and staging really do put that cherry on top of an already delicious cake!

With a fantastic orchestra under the musical direction of Neil MacDonald, Sister Act is a show that you will not want to miss.  At the heart, it’s a story of friendship and acceptance, but mix that with an incredible cast, fantastic musical numbers and enough sparkle to light even the biggest of glitterballs, it really would be a bad ‘habit’ to miss this one! It truly is FAB-U-LOUS BABY!

This production was reviewed on the 4th October 2022 at the Birmingham Hippodrome where it runs until the 15th October 2022.  Tickets available here:

Full tour details can be found here:

Written for Box Office Radio

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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