Sister Act review: There’s Nun better!
- Credit: Archant
Roger James Dean reviews Potters Bar Theatre Company’s production of musical Sister Act.
Last year we had the Nuns of the Nonberg Abbey singing beautifully in The Sound of Music.
This year the nuns reappear in a convent in downtown Philadelphia, USA.
The auditorium resounds just the same with alleluias, but now with a compelling beat and with a swing.
And what a swing. This is Potters Bar Theatre Company in Sister Act.
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It is one of the best shows I have seen for a long time.
Five very fine solo voices make it so. Michelle Williams playing the Mother Superior who is haunted by the changes being wrought in her convent. David Adams playing Eddie, the lovelorn city cop who strives to do the right thing.
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Sarah Brealey playing Sister Mary Robert, the postulant who seeks a new life. Nick Wells as Curtis, the strutting gangster brings in a sinister quality.
But most of all, Sarai French as the star role of Deloris, giving the whole play its drive and intensity.
The plotline is very simple.
Deloris witnesses a fatal shooting at the hands of her gangster boyfriend, Curtis.
She goes to the police to report it and because of the danger to her life she is given safe haven in the convent.
The convent’s choir has never cut the mustard but Deloris as a professional singer coaches the nuns to sing with conviction.
Under her tutelage, the choir becomes a national and international sensation and it is called to perform before the Pope himself.
This notoriety blows Deloris’ cover and Curtis threatens her life but, just in time, Eddie shoots him first.
Into this plot is woven some good songs.
It is worth mentioning Eddie singing I Could Be That Guy in which he transforms from a humble cop into a white-suited pop idol and from pop idol back into a humble cop. Very slick.
Shades of The Sound of Music hover around the part of Sister Mary Robert, the postulant who isn’t quite sure of her calling, and sings passionately about ‘The Life I Never Led’.
In the same mode the nuns gather in a bedroom scene all dressed in pale blue pyjamas – a sight I will always savour – to sing about their favourite things, although these favourite things are about being a nun.
The under-floor band, under the direction of Andy Merrifield, was out of sight but not out of mind and gave a magnificent sound throughout.
The professional set was impressive and well set off with the most excellent lighting effects.
Lorraine Bottomley as director must be justly proud of the performance.
I’d like to see it all over again!