Praise the lord there’s a new musical in town!
Following the success of Ghost earlier this year, Manchester’s Opera House is playing host to another ‘film turned stage show’, Sister Act. The show had its Gala Night this week and the stars turned out to watch it and then shimmy on down at Renaissance Hotel after party. Corrie’s Anthony Cotton and Cath Tyldesley were amongst the theatre-goers plus there was strong support from the cast of Hollyoaks.
If you haven’t seen the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, here’s the plot…
It’s 1977 and nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder. The ‘Diana Ross’ wannabe is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found – a convent! Disguised as a nun she quickly finds fans amongst her fellow ‘sisters’ but makes the wrong impression on the convent’s strict Mother Superior. When she turns her attention to the convent’s off-key choir, Deloris realises she can help the nuns to find their true voices and breathe new life into the ailing convent, with comedic and soulful results!
Newcomer Cynthia Erivo is just heavenly as disco diva Deloris Van Cartier-she has sassiness, wit and a super soulful voice that has you wanting to get up on your feet and dance. When Erivo sings about being, ‘Fabulous, Baby!’ there was not an audience member who wouldn’t agree…a true star in the making.
Former Brookside star Michael Starke enjoys a cameo role as Monsignor O’Hara, adopting an ‘Irish New York’ accent. Starke went down a treat with the audience despite having little time onstage. Ex Corrie actress Denise Black dons a habit to play Mother Superior, the role made famous in the film by Dame Maggie Smith. It’s hard not to compare her to Smith although Black does a fair job providing the part with dry humour and compassion.
Praise must be given to the superb support cast that includes Julie Atherton as Sister Mary Robert who gives a brilliant rendition of ‘The Life I Never Led’, and the 3 actors who play Mafia boss Curtis’ hapless stooges, TJ, Pablo and Joey (Gavin Alex, Tyrone Huntley and Daniel Stockton) who had the audience laughing till they cried.
If gossip from the theatre world is to be believed there has been a re working of the show by director and 4 time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks since it’s West End run, which may be the reason this tour of Sister Act seems slick, punchy and has hardly any flaws.
Actor/singer Will Mellor thought the show was first class and has faith that anyone who goes and sees it will think that way too. Amen to that!
Tuesday 29 Sep – Sat 15 Oct
Opera House, Manchester
Box Office: 0844 871 3018