Praise the lord that the New Alex Theatre in Birmingham were graced with the spectacular vocals, slick dialogue and all-round dazzling production Sister Act.
Currently on a UK tour, Sister Act is the story of feisty young diva Deloris, an aspiring superstar from Philadelphia who is desperate to find an agent who will make her a star. Stuck in a dead-end relationship with her criminal boyfriend Curtis, after witnessing him murder one of his gang, she is forced into hiding. Instructed to disguise herself, she is sent to shelter in a convent until her trial date. The nuns are shocked by her outrageous personality and outspoken nature, however despite her misgivings, Deloris manages to find one thing in common with the sisters – music.
Straight out of the Bodyguard UK tour, Alexandra Burke takes to the stage as the sassy leading lady Deloris. She oozes confidence as she struts around the stage vivaciously. Burke’s vocals are powerfully fiery, she belts out the big numbers Fabulous, Baby! and Bless Our Show with intricate riffs that showcase her stellar voice. Burke nails the characterisation as she comes across self-assured, yet with a huge heart as she warms to the sisters. She is glamorous and melodramatic, her exaggerative reactions create a character that is excellently funny.
Appointed to lead the sisters in their choir, Deloris puts a spin on the traditional gospel music and blends the sister’s voices to create a sensationally soulful sound. The sisters master their roles as naive women who have lived such a conformed life. They appear awkward and dorky, but slowly as Deloris has her effect on them, they begin to grow into huge personalities – creating a lot of humour in the show. This is displayed through their ensemble numbers that are charismatic and packed with energy.
Deloris strikes a bond with the sisters, in particular the youngest and shyest nun in the convent Sister Mary Robert played by Sarah Goggin. She is slowly brought out of her shell and showcases her impressive vocals and astonishing high notes during Raise Your Voice. However it is Goggin’s solo that is particularly heartwarming, as she sings Life I Never Led to Burke, displaying her admiration towards her for teaching her about the world outside the convent.
However it isn’t just the sisters that Deloris has an effect on, the policeman named Eddie who is in charge of keeping her safe also takes a shine to her. Nicknamed sweaty Eddie, he has always gone unnoticed and lacks faith in himself. He dreams to be confident in the number I Could Be That Guy, in which he flaunts his remarkable vocals – which made him recognisable from when he played the role of Emmett in the Curve’s production of Legally Blonde.
Taking a twist on the production by using actor muscians, it is a superb concept to have the cast playing instruments on stage, as it adds to the magic of the music. The production elements tremendously reflect the extravagance of Deloris’ character. Set inside a church, the bleakness of the dark brick walls are lit up with Richard G Jones’ flashy but sleek lighting design of bright colours and disco lights.
Sister Act is a fiercely fabulous show that will have you leaving the theatre singing hallelujah. It is a production that exudes passion and exuberance.
***** 5 Star
On until Saturday the 17th of September, tickets can be found here.