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“Sister Act”

This fun musical is based on the story of a night club singer who witnesses a murder committed by her gangster boyfriend, and who is hidden in a convent.  Whilst in the convent she is able to miraculously transform the choir of nuns from a disastrous noise to a lovely sound, attracting a congregation to save the church.  More of a story than some musicals!

Always an interesting show, featuring some lovely uplifting music.  Chris Young directed a fairly traditional version of the show, that gave the cast plenty of scope to explore their characters.

Musically good, Joanna Smale had made the most of the musical numbers, with the cast obviously enjoying the various harmonies, which came across well.  The band sounded good, and the sound balance between stage and pit was good.

The choreography from Lucy O’Hare kept the cast on their toes, I enjoyed the three gangsters, lots of humour, but particularly well interpreted by Alex Wheeler.  The Nuns were well-rehearsed in the main, although there were a couple of places especially in the closing number when their lines were a little awry!

I thought the lighting was very striking – creating many beautiful effects, which enhanced the look of the show considerably.  The scene changes seemed to start off well, but there were some overlong changes at times.

Sound was good, but at times I felt the cast were a little too loud in the ensemble numbers, it was difficult to attune the ear, and it rather drowned out the band, which was a change but not always musically pleasing.  

The costumes were lovely – very colourful and well made.  The cast wore them well, and they looked good.

Deloris Van Cartier the night club singer is a great part, and Roxy Parkins certainly made the most of the super songs, I loved her performance.  She is on stage for practically the whole musical, so very hard work, but Roxy gave a very strong performance, musically very sound.

Helen Maile and Megan Healy were very natural, glamorous and girly as Deloris’s backing singers, I liked what they did.

The Mother Superior is a lovely role that Barbara Morton gave her usual expression and care to.  I loved her song, Barbara gave it such meaning, and overall got the calmness of a nun, with the inner turmoil of having to cope with the outrageous Deloris.  I thought the music suited her voice particularly well.

Kirsty Day was a lovely novice Sister Mary Robert – her song was beautiful, showing her doubt over her calling, very expressive and poignant.  I also loved her transition from an introverted to a joyful young person, very well done.

Sister Mary Patrick the most energetic and lively of the Nuns, was delightfully played by Lucy O’Hare – a big ask for her to choreograph and play a principal role, but Lucy gave her part a great deal of enthusiasm, and I loved her interpretation.

The slightly more mature Nuns played by Angela Goss, Susan Young and Heather Rouse, had some lovely humorous moments, intermingled with concern that completed the dimensions of a diverse group of people, I really liked their portrayals.

It was nice to see Alan Goss as the kindly Monsignor, in his wonderfully colourful vestments.  He reacted calmly to the more feisty Mother Superior.

Curtis the gangster boss was played by Errol Albert, with lots of evil intent, hidden behind a smooth exterior, I liked his interpretation of his number.

Justin Jeffreys was a decidedly nerdy Eddie, he put a lot of energy into his song, always difficult with the costume change, that mostly seemed to work, if a little slow.  A fun number, and I also enjoyed his caring attitude towards Deloris.

I liked the contrast between Curtis’s henchmen – with Simon Rollings playing Joey, Laurence Simms as the rather dim TJ (with inexplicably strange wig), and Alex Wheeler as Pablo.  Of the three Alex Wheeler stood out, with his beautifully thick Spanish accent, and spot on execution of the choreography.

The men’s ensemble also took small parts, which they all did well.  A real laugh out loud moment was the reveal of the female at the bar as a man – very funny.

The ladies ensemble were suitably calm and thoughtful as Nuns, but also showed their spirit when singing, with some good harmonies, supported by the pit choir.

Overall a good production, just a little lacking in pace and vigour at times, but I particularly enjoyed the performances of Roxy, Kirsty, Lucy and Barbara.

Dunstable Amatuer Operatic Society

SISTER ACT” review date: 26th May 2017

The Grove Theatre, Dunstable

Director: Chris Young MD: Joanna Smale

Choreographer: Lucy O’Hare


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