Sister Act The Musical is no stranger to UK theatres, having premiered in 2009 at the London Palladium the original production went on to capture the hearts of critics and audiences alike on both sides of the pond. Featuring original music by Tony and 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Disney’s Aladdin, Enchanted, Little Shop of Horrors) and lyrics by three-time Tony nominee Glen Slater (The Little Mermaid, School of Rock, Love Never Dies), Sister Act is now back on tour in a high-kicking, sequined filled, star-studded, habit lifting production produced by the legendary original Sister Mary Clarence Whoopi Goldberg.
Based on the 1992 hit film, Sister Act The Musical tells the hilarious story of lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses her shady boyfriend murder someone. Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – an inner-city run down convent! Under the suspicious eye of the Mother Superior, completely out of her depth and disguised as a nun, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.
Joining the congregation of the dazzling new production is comedy legend and BAFTA Award-winner Jennifer Saunders as Mother Superior, the Queen of Soul, Beverley Knight as Disco diva in disguise Deloris Van Cartier, The Greatest Showman and Tony Award-nominated actress Keala Settle as Sister Mary Patrick, Television and stage star Lesley Joseph as Sister Mary Lazarus, Hackney royalty and Olivier Award-winner Clive Rowe as Eddie Southern and Hairspray’s rising star Lizzie Bea playing the quiet as a mouse- until you give her a microphone, Sister Mary Robert.
As Deloris Van Cartier, Beverly Knight is absolutely stunning. Her vocals and incredible from start to finish and it’s hard to imagine anyone else filling Deloris’s knee-high purple boots. Her portrayal of Deloris is soulful, touching, hilarious and meaningful. Stealing the show every moment she’s onstage and proving in each note why she’s the Queen of Soul. Fabulous Baby! Jennifer Saunders as Mother Superior is a masterclass. She’s uproarious as the voice of reason and looks to be enjoying herself immensely. Hilarious moments include her taking a phone call and in a half-asleep voice (not unlike her Ab Fab character Edina Monsoon), saying “No, No… I’m always up, I’m always up..” and displaying her vocal prowess with an absorbing moment of vibrato in her solo number at the top of Act Two. As the always on and constantly cherry Sister Mary Patrick, Keala Settle is priceless. You can’t take your eyes off her as she bounds across the stage and gives it all she’s got in every moment. Ka pai, Keala, ka pai! As Sister Mary Lazarus, Lesley Joseph delivers a gut-busting performance, you’ve not lived until you’ve seen her rap Sugarhill Gang surrounded by a group of Nuns. Clive Rowe as the unlucky in love cop Eddie Southern has some lovely moments and two blink and you’ll miss it costume changes in the same song! A feat any actor would find daunting but our Clive handles it with finesse and ease. Lizzie Bea as Sister Mary Robert has an incredible show-stopping moment in Act Two displaying her stunning vocal ability and letting audiences fall in love with her all over again. Supported by an incredibly talented and versatile ensemble, this cast of Sister Act is the dream!
Expertly directed by Bill Buckhurst, with fabulous costume and set design by Morgan Large, this Sister Act is the ultimate production of the show. It’s bright, it’s fun, it’s touching and could be the show of the summer. Playing a limited run at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, this Sister Act is not to be missed, so grab your congregation, Raise Your Voice and worship at the altar of this star studded cast and fabulous production now!
Reviewed by Stuart James