Eventim Apollo, London – until 28 August 2022
Guest reviewer: Emily Cliff
Incredibly anticipated by the theatre community and postponed due to Covid, Sister Act has certainly made the long wait worth it.
From the costumes to the staging, everything from when the curtain rises is pure joy in this production of Sister Act. Much like the beloved blockbuster, the theatre adaptation was meant to star Whoopi Goldberg. However, due to scheduling conflicts, she was unable to reprise her role. This left big shoes to fill, but Beverley Knight certainly fills them. Supported by Jennifer Saunders (Mother Superior), Keala Settle (Sister Mary Patrick) and Lizzie Bea (Sister Mary Robert) this-all star cast leaves audiences beaming from ear to ear.
In regards to the story, there’s not much difference between the film and the musical, the stage show is set in 1977 Philadelphia. Dripping with disco and soul, the songs are charming, uplifting and add to the feelgood atmosphere of the show. A notable song is ‘Take Me To Heaven’, which is by far one of the best numbers in the show. Unfortunately, the songs in Act Two aren’t quite on the same level of energy as the final two numbers of Act One, and it feels repetitive throughout Act Two, neither adding nor taking away from the story.
That being said, the costumes and the staging certainly lift this production in many ways. While not much can be done with a simple nun costume, the finale sees brightly coloured sequin robes which add to the delightfulness of the production.
This show has all of the ingredients to be great but it just falls short. The characters are played brilliantly, and the comedic value is there. However, some of the songs and events in the show feel a little bit like time fillers. Despite its downfalls the show is a joy to watch and will put a smile on anyone’s face when they go and see it. Knight is a superb Delores and Saunders is a fantastic Mother Superior. The show would have benefited from more upbeat songs and more ensemble involvement, because who doesn’t like groovy nuns? Overall this show, despite its shortcomings, is a joy and a feelgood classic that should be added to your London theatre watch list.
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