Thursday 28 July 2022

Sister Act - Review

 Eventim Apollo, London


Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner
Additional book material by Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by Bill Buckhurst

Beverley Knight and Company

Beverley Knight leads a cracking cast as the pandemic-delayed production of Sister Act finally arrives at the Eventim Apollo. In a glitter-ball enthused celebration of kitsch, Knight is on top form as singer Deloris Van Cartier, hiding for her life from her gangster boyfriend Curtis amidst the nuns of Philadelphia’s Church of Perpetual Sorrow convent.

The story is a Hollywood confection that taps into the joy of the human condition as Deloris brings sunshine and singing to the downtrodden sisters. Jennifer Saunders is perfectly cast as Mother Superior, catching her character’s nuances of disapproval with immaculate comic timing. Stunt-casting maybe, for Saunders cannot sing, but in a show that’s as much fun as this that’s no big deal. Elsewhere in the convent Leslie Joseph and Keala Settle are on fine form, but the standout turn amongst the nuns is Lizzie Bea’s Sister Mary Robert, displaying a vocal strength that is simply breathtaking.

Jeremy Secomb as Curtis is a delicious baddy and his take on When I Get My Baby is the best one-man tribute act to the 1970s that you are likely to see. It is Clive Rowe however as veteran cop Eddie whose soul number I Could Be That Guy offers up the standout male performance of the night.

Bill Buckhurst directs effectively within the shallow confines of the Eventim stage - ably assisted by Morgan Large’s designs and Alistair David’s choreography. Alan Menken’s score is a disco-driven collection of tunes, which while not being memorable are nonetheless gorgeously delivered by Jae Alexander’s 12 piece band.

For a night of slick West End entertainment that’s wonderfully performed, Sister Act is a delightful evening of musical theatre.

Runs until 28th August and then on tour
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

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