sisters

Sister Act

Malvern Theatres

*****

DELORIS Van Cartier is a young, black soul singer who wants to get a job singing live in a night club and is having an affair with the married owner.

However she witnesses him murdering a man and she runs away, intending to be a witness in court against him.

He wants her dead, so she takes refuge in a dwindling convent, which brings chaos to the established and rather dreary order of things there.

The lamentable choir is revolutionised by her new style of music and talented coaching, but to the alarm of the Mother Superior!

The clash of cultures provides much hilarity and some conflict, and results in a variety of lively musical numbers.

The musical is full of energy and youthful vigour and creativity. The atmospheric band of live musicians appear all over the stage and gallery, playing a variety of instruments. These all combine with the excellent lighting plot, the vivid costumes and a full and enthusiastic audience to create a hugely entertaining production.

The show took a little time to warm up, but before half-time the momentum and comedy is established and the Second Act was excellent. There were very poignant moments, as when Deloris is told to escape danger by now leaving the Convent. The friendships and fresh lease of life among the nuns and their choir are threatened, though she returns to perform with them for the Pope’s visit.

Joanna Francis gives a wonderful performance as Deloris. She has a powerful voice, great movement, youthful energy and humour; she holds the whole show together with excellent presence and dramatic life.

Karen Mann as Mother Superior is the other standout performer. At certain points in the musical she cries out to God for help to maintain the work of the church and convent, and to help her cope with Deloris and her impact on the longer-standing members of the order! When she eventually sings out her prayer in despair in Act Two, it is very powerfully delivered with some emotion and yet comic effect too.

The other notable feature of the show is the choreography. It is varied, at times comic, and invariably lively and energetic.

This musical has a measure of satire at the expense of the Church, it is mildly irreverent in places but above it all it celebrates the power and warmth of human friendship, and the importance of integrity over formal religion. This show has a strong feel-good factor and provides a great evening’s entertainment at this festive time of year. The audience turned out in abundance and thoroughly enjoyed the production. Directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, Sister Act runs to 10-12-16

Tim Crow

06-12-16 

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