Sister Act – A Divine Musical Comedy – Bord Gais Energy Theatre – Review by Louise O’Meara
– Until 3rd Sept
Based on the 1992 family favourite film starring Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act – A Divine Musical Comedy, directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood comes to the Bord Gais Energy theatre from 28 August to 3 September for the Irish leg of its tour.
First debuting to huge acclaim on Broadway and the West End in 2009, the production has had several popular revivals. This version, which had former X Factor winner, Alexandra Burke take the lead as protagonist Deloris van Cartier in the West End, sees Joanna Francis step into her purple platform boots for the duration of the show’s tour.
Set in Philadelphia in the late 1970’s, protagonist Deloris Van Cartier, a vivacious, disco-soul lounge singer, witnesses her lover Curtis shoot a man dead one evening and finds herself on the run from him. Desperate to flee the wrath of Curtis she enlists the help of former classmate and general good-guy, Police Officer ‘Sweaty’ Eddie, who organises a hide-out for her in a declining convent.
Matthew Wright’s set of blue hues and looming Gothic arches create the perfect stoic convent backdrop, with impressive lighting design and smoke effects lending itself nicely to create the isolated world of the convent. The plot develops as Deloris’ sass and sparkle cannot be contained by a habit and before long she ends up taking over from Sister Mary Lazarus as the choir director.
In barely no time at all, the once screeching conglomeration of nuns transforms into a suitably angelic sounding, instrument yielding, band of sisters. However, the consequence of this transformation is brought to bear, and when the remarkable choir end up on television for their efforts they are spotted by Curtis and Deloris’ whereabouts are revealed.
The musical is very enjoyable and the singing is impressive in its might. Karen Mann gives a great performance as the uptight and complex Mother Superior and the ensemble of nuns provide excellent support to Deloris, creating very satisfying group scenes. The impressive energy of the orchestra anchors the show with remarkable skill giving a great security to the performers.
I did miss the original score in places and was hoping to hear at least one of the songs from the film. And although Joanna Francis’ belt seems to know no boundaries, at times I wasn’t fully convinced of Deloris’ plight. Overall, Sister Act is an enjoyable and fun-filled family gambol and I recommend catching it while it’s in town.
Director & Choreographer: Craig Revel Horwood
Musical Supervisor and Arrangement: Sarah Travis
Performers: Joanna Francis, Karen Mann, Aaron Lee Curtis.