Theatre review: Sister Act – UK tour

Seeing Whoopi Goldberg on stage was literally a dream come true. Seeing her being back in the habit (get it?), shaking her tush and corrupting the convent… Wait, what? It wasn’t Whoopi Goldberg?! It was Alexandra Burke, you say? Well . . .

Well, obviously I knew that! I just needed a snappy intro.

The UK tour of Sister Act, the divine musical comedy, is currently in Manchester. I got to see it this week and literally feel blessed by those frickin’ nuns on stage. (Just as a side note, I’m sad that they don’t make musicals of sequels, because Sister Act 2 is arguably a way better movie because of Lauryn Hill and ‘Dancing in the Street’ – I mean can we just?) But still, Sister Act was always going to be amazing because it’s a great movie. It’s about a showgirl hiding in a convent from her gangster boyfriend because she’s testifying against him after seeing him pop a cap in a snitch’s ass. Great premise!

I also saw Alexandra Burke in The Bodyguard last year and it was literally the best show I’ve ever seen. She was phenomenal, and was the same in Sister Act. I felt like occasionally the pitch was a little too low for her voice – she sounded bit too deep once or twice – but it was otherwise a flawless performance from one of the UK’s best singers at the moment!

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The musical starts a little slow while it’s setting the scene, and then kicks in hard about a third of the way through, when Deloris Van Cartier becomes the controversial choir teacher at the Queen of Angels church. The existing choir is crap, the nuns are off-key, and the church is in the process of being sold. So when Deloris injects it with her enthusiasm and provocative music, the pews are filled with bums and the buyers donate the money instead of buying the joint! Who’da thunk? It’s a massively triumphant moment and the cast and music stunningly made it real. And as Yazz said, from there the only way for the church to go is up.

The only bit I was initially a little miffed about is that they put a love story in. No, mama, no. Sister Act isn’t about a man. It’s about women coming together in a mega empowering way to defeat a greater evil.

The evil came in the form of Curtis, who was legit a bast and actually sung a song about killing poor Deloris. Again, no, mama, no.

The love story that seemed a little forced and awkward at times was with the police officer, Eddie, who organised Deloris’ stay in the convent. He’d had a crush on her since school and sweated a lot, blah blah blah. BUT it did make for some songs by him which were incredible because Jon Robyns is an incredible singer. That was the unnecessary love story’s first saving grace. Jon was a peach and had some great quick Bucks Fizz costume-rip off changes. That was the love story’s second saving grace.

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My MVP was Sister Mary Robert, played by Sarah Goggin. She was the young postulant (which made for a hilarious prostitution joke), who was brought out of her shell. I honestly had goosebumps every time she sang and had a hand-on-my-chest moment of realisation about how much she was slaying my whole life.

The show was, in all, great! I thoroughly enjoyed the music and the sets and the cast. Even the habits were great, and full of sequins for the finale which had me yaaaaaasssssssss-ing in the aisle!

Sister Act is in Manchester until the end of the week and then continuing it’s tour across the UK. Tickets are available on the ATG website.