So Sister Act – a divine musical comedy -what to say?
Its hard to think of things that haven’t already been said, it is such a well known and loved film to do anything other than love the musical interpretation would be to be at odds with all the audiences.
The almost full house at Plymouth’s Theatre Royal tonight was no exception, the frisson of excitement was palpable before the show started and people were not disappointed. Resisting the foot tapping ensemble numbers and laughing at the asides from Denise Black, who gave a consummate performance as Mother Superior and Michael Starke (Monsignor O’Hara) even had I wanted to dislike the show my efforts would have proved futile. This really was sit back and enjoy time.
The story, surely known to all, of the wannabe singer Delores Van Cartier who witnesses her married boyfriend Curtis Jackson commit a murder, is persuaded to give evidence against him, she is in need of protection and as such she ends up in the convent much to the disgust of the Mother Superior. She uses her musical talent to teach the nuns to sing and in return they show her the love and kindness of sisterhood.
The programme notes tell us that Cynthia Erivo (Deloris Van Cartier) has worked consistently since graduating and her performance tonight tells us why – she seems to have it all she can sing and dance and has a real presence on stage despite her tiny stature. She threw everything at this role, Whoopi Goldberg’s shoes are hard to fill but she certainly wears Deloris’ purple boots with style!
Julie Atherton as the demure Sister Mary Robert is worthy of a special mention as is her rendition of The Life I Never Led.
Strong male roles (and voices) abounded Cavin Cornwall (Curtis Jackson) with his gravelly speaking tone and even deeper, sexier singing voice led the way and Edward Baruwa’s (Eddie Souther) softer but equally seductive singing – not to mention his pastiche to northern soul offers a great contrast between the bad and the good guys. (As expected despite the appeal of Curtis, Eddie “got the girl”).
Star in the making was Tyrone Huntley (TJ) who in a support role threatened to steal the show. The ensemble were as one in their singing and dance routines which were full of verve and enjoyment. The ‘big’ numbers had the audience participating and whooping as in appreciation.
In the days of complex scenery and props the sets were quite simple and in places stark but they worked well and made the most of the stage space, the church scenes in particular gave the impression of great height and depth. What the set builders kept simple the costume department more than made up for with the many, and sometimes unique, costume changes.
This is a must for anyone who loves the film with instantly recognisable characters, despite the songs being unfamiliar, it is foot tapping hand clapping, feel good night out. Its only in Plymouth until 14th July so make sure you see it if you can.
For more information and to book tickets for the show at Plymouth Theatre Royal please click here
Or For More information about the Sister Act The Musical on its national tour please click here