Hit movies remade as stage musicals have become so ubiquitous in the theatre that they really should qualify as a sub-section all of their own.
And Sister Act, which has enjoyed success in the West End and Broadway is right up there with the best of them. In fact, judging by the number of members of the audience who turned up dressed as nuns.it already looks like becoming a popular staple of the genre. Unless of course they were real nuns out on the lash to see what all the fuss is about!
Whoopi Goldberg, who starred in the 1990s, big screen original is credited as co-producer here, which shows the credentials the show boasts. It also boasts a fine cast in fine form for this current UK tour.
For those in need of a memory jolt, the story focuses on a nightclub singer, Cynthia Erivo’s Dolores Van Cartier, who witnesses a mob hit and is forced to go into hiding, “incog-negro”, in a convent until a trial date can be set for her to testify against the bad guy (here, a menacingly smooth Cavin Cornwall).
While the production provides plenty of show-stopping ensemble opportunities as Dolores takes charge of the order’s terrible choir, and injects some much needed life into the nun’s habits- albeit to the horror of the mortified Mother Superior-the show needs a charismatic lead if it is to succeed.
And in Erivo they have come up trumps, her sassy, wise- ass, comic talents matched by an equally sassy singing voice that soon has you forgetting all about Whoopi Goldberg.
Elsewhere Corrie’s Denise Black as the poker faced Mother Superior may not be up to the mark of Erivo when it comes to the musical numbers, but she mines her comedic opportunities well, as she finds herself at odds with he life force that is Dolores. Michael Starke (Sinbad from Brookside), also turns in an eye catching cameo as Monsignor O’Hara.
Of the all -singing, all- dancing nuns, Julie Athetron as timid church mouse turned rebel, Sister Mary Robert, Laurie Scarth’s Sister Mary Patrick, and Jacqueline Clarke’s crotchety old Sister Mary Lazarus, (complete with a jaw dropping, blinged up rap number), provide support of the highest order.
A special mention too must go to Tyrone Huntely as henchman TJ, who had the audience in stitches every time he appeared on stage, not least alongside fellow bad guys Gavin Alex and Daniel Stockton in a hilarious cock of the walk number entreating the ladies to feel their luuurve..
Alan Menken and Glenn Slater’s score draws deep from the sequined well of disco, Philly soul and funk to great effect throughout. And the entertaining end result is bound to make converts of even the most stubborn of musical theatre purists who prefer their nuns to be climbing every mountain in order to escape the Nazis..
Sister Act, King’s, Glasgow until Sat. Tel: 0844 871 7648.