“5-Star Fabulous Baby!”
Sutton Coldfield Musical Theatre Company's production of Sister Act is being performed with an abundance of sparkling energy at the Lichfield Garrick this week - and it sure is 5-Star Fabulous Baby!
This well-loved musical comedy, based on the 1992 film, is directed by Paul Lumsden with choreography by Aimee Holding and with the musical direction of Sheila Pearson.
Lounge singer, Deloris van Cartier (MARSHA WEBBE) accidentally witnesses her boyfriend, Curtis (BEN ADAMS) commit a mob murder. Suddenly her dreams of becoming a big-time nightclub diva come to an abrupt end as cop Eddie Souther (JONATHAN BLAKE) persuades her to hide in a convent - the very last place Curtis would think of looking for her as he awaits trial. Disguised as Sister Mary Clarence and, under the watchful eye of Mother Superior (DEB CRUMP), Deloris moves into the convent, adopts the habit and joins the Sisters. Soon enough her singing talents are noticed and she helps the incumbent tone-deaf choir raise their voices and inject soul into the church, shaking the religious foundations with sassy dance moves and heavenly funk, all to the dismay of Mother Superior and all whilst trying not to be discovered by Curtis and his three stooges TJ, Joey and Pablo (ANIL PATEL, DAVE CRUMP and MATTHEW COLLINS). Meanwhile, Monsignor O’Hara (JOHN JOHNSON), one of the heads of the convent who has financial concerns for the church, announces they are to perform a special concert in front of religious royalty - the Pope! Deloris, afraid for the nuns’ safety, then has to confess who she really is and why she’s hiding there. Curtis and his gang close in but the Sisterhood stick together and prove that its good to be a nun.
Leading lady, Marsha Webbe, was an absolute delight to witness in the role of Deloris with exceptional voice, stage ownership and similar qualities in the role, I thought, as those of actress Alexandra Burke. Deb Crump’s portrayal of the vigilant and motherly Mother Superior was perfect with, again, an impressive and beautiful singing voice and strong stage presence, complimented by the humour and talent of theatre stalwart John Johnson. Pure comedy-gold performances (and dance moves in particular Anil!) were given by Ben Adams, Anil Patel, Dave Crump and Matthew Collins and Jonathan Blake was just heaven to watch as the lovable Sweaty Eddie, who deservedly gets his gal in the end. Too large a cast to mention individually but special mention must go to the principal nuns Beth Dickson, Paula Lumsden, Naomi O'Borne, Sally Midwinter and Sarah Corden who played their parts very similarly to the movie portrayals and certainly perfected audience expectation in characterisation.
With disco-themed score by Alan Menken, Sister Act features up-tempo, gospel-style numbers throughout, with live music provided flawlessly by the orchestra. The solo numbers interspersed throughout the show highlighted the talent of the cast, including Jonathan Blake’s ‘If I Could Be That Guy’, Deb Crump’s ‘I Haven’t Got A Prayer’ and Beth Dickson’s ‘The Life I Never Had’.
With strong supporting actors and ensemble, an impressive stage set, lighting scheme and sound design, wardrobe, perfected American accents and on-stage camaraderie, the show really did capture every essence of the story and deserved the standing ovation it received. Technically, it was well managed except for a few mic issues which were quickly resolved (and well done to the actors who continued with their performance without hesitation). But one of the main highlights of the show for me was the sensational choreography by the clearly talented Aimee Holding. Loved every move. Take a bow.
Congratulations to all involved.
Runs to 28 Sep
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