Sister Act

Posted on: 17 June 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Laurence Green reviews the divine stage version of the hit 1992 film Sister Act.

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A new star is born in the shape of 24-year-old American Patina Miller who makes her West End debut in Peter Schneider’s divine stage version of the hit 1992 film Sister Act which ironically follows The Sound of Music into the London Palladium (yes another musical about nuns!)

The action is set in Philadelphia where nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier witnesses her gangster boyfriend commit a murder and, realising her own life is in danger, is put in protective custody in the one place the police are sure she won’t be found – a convent.  Despite her objections to the austere way of life (and her new name of Sister Mary Clarence!), she finds a role as an unlikely choir mistress.  Under her instruction she inspires a group of loveable, if tuneless, nuns to become a lean mean singing machine and discovers much more about herself on the way.

It is not often that one can say the transition from screen to stage is a happy one but it certainly is here.  Indeed I can safely say that this musical comedy proves far more enjoyable in the theatre than in the cinema.  Alan Menken’s attractive, disco-inspired score with more than a touch of gospel is a real winner – I particularly liked the numbers When I Find My Baby and Take Me To Heaven.  Furthermore Anthony Van Laast’s energetic choreography is slick and witty with many cherishable images of which the best must be a can-can line of nuns in gaudy surplices.

But the show’s real find is Patina Miller as Deloris, the role played by Whoopi Goldberg (the co-producer of the show) in the film.  She has a funky, spunky stage presence and a rich, soaring voice and great comic timing.  Fine support comes from Sheila Hancock as the uptight mother superior with the world-weary gravitas to make a good sparring partner for Deloris, as well as Claire Greenway as the engaging, plump and funny Sister Mary Patrick and Katie Rowley Jones as a sweet novice.

Sing Hallelujah for a new musical which hits all the right notes.

When: Booking to 13th Feb 2010

Where:  London Palladium

Box Office: 0844 412 2704

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