Reviewed by Jodie Crawford
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Sister Act tells the story of wannabe club singer Deloris (Sandra Marvin), who is the mistress of gangster Eddie Souther (Clive Rowe). Ready to end their affair, after he gifts her his wife’s old fur coat, Deloris accidentally witnesses Eddie kill a man. Fearing for her life she flees to the police and is forced to enter witness protection. A convent isn’t quite what she had in mind though and it takes her a fair bit of adjusting! But being given the role of choir master helps Deloris bond with the other nuns and she sets about helping them raise money to fix the church roof.
This show is a roaring success, and the Manchester audience loved it. It’s clear that many people (judging from the huge applause she received before she had even opened her mouth to deliver a line) came to see the legend that is Jennifer Saunders and she really doesn’t disappoint. There is no hiding from the fact that she isn’t a singer – but she doesn’t need to be, she even acknowledges this during her performance herself. Her comic timing, stage presence and the way in which she engages with the cast means that the audience is captivated with her character, Mother Superior, immediately.
The cast is packed with stars of the stage and screen and this makes for a very polished performance all round. Lizzie Bea hitting the high notes was a highlight of the show- she is a great talent. While Clive Rowe in a sparkly 70s disco dancing outfit performing “I could be that guy” is something I won’t forget in a hurry!
The songs differ from those in the movie and they aren’t as catchy, but it really doesn’t matter. The way that the “nuns” come together and perform is absolutely first class – Sister Mary Lazarus played by Leslie Joseph is a triumph, 76 years of age and moves as fast and nimble as any cast member on that stage. Later in the year she will take on the role of Mother Superior, which I think will be well worth seeing.
The set design by Morgan Large is impressive and Tim Mitchell’s lighting design compliments it incredibly well. Visually it makes such an impact.
Sister Act has all the ingredients for a fun night out, filled with laughter, good music and spectacular performances. It doesn’t disappoint from start to finish. The audience couldn’t wait to get up on their feet for the finale.
Sister Act is on at Manchester’s Palace Theatre until Saturday 9th July tickets available here.