Sister Act The Musical UK Tour - Theatre Royal Plymouth Review
Okay, hands up in the air, I’ll admit. I’ve never seen the film ‘Sister Act’. Shocking, I know, as many of you may consider it a classic, but here we are. So, other than knowing a few of the songs and having a very basic idea of the plot, I walked into the UK Tour of ‘Sister Act The Musical’ at Theatre Royal Plymouth relatively blind.
‘Sister Act’ tells the story of singer Deloris Van Cartier (played here by Sandra Marvin), who after witnessing her gangster boyfriend Curtis (Jeremy Secomb) shoot one of his cronies dead, is forced to go into hiding in a convent. Whilst pretending to be a nun, she is put in charge of the convent’s troubled choir and the fun begins.
In a role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the film, Sandra Marvin leads the show with sass, pizazz, and a cheeky energy as Deloris Van Cartier. With great vocals, you see the growth in the character from the spotlight loving performer to the teacher and true friend as she works with the nuns of the choir. Lori Haley Fox stepped up to the role of Mother Superior for this performance and became a standout with her renditions of ‘Here Within These Walls’ proving particularly impressive.
Jeremy Secomb plays the show’s villain, Curtis Jackson, the character that everyone loves to hate. He commands the stage and earns many a laugh in his interactions with his cronies Joey (Tom Hopcroft), TJ (Bradley Judge) and Pablo (Damian Buhagiar). The three cronies are equally as funny, earning rapturous applause with their act two number ‘Lady in the Long Black Dress’. Graham Macduff’s gives the show a softer touch as police officer Eddie Souther, full of dreams of being the kind of man that women would love and trying his best to keep Deloris safe.
Each performer playing a nun is given their moment to shine, from Sister Mary Lazarus’ (Anne Smith) ‘funky base’, Sister Mary Patrick’s (Catherine Millsom) powerful belt and Sister Mary Martin of Tours (played here by Gabrielle Davina Smith) side comments and looks off to the distance in moments of distraction. It is Lizzie Bea’s Sister Mary Robert that proves to be a scene stealer, as her character grows with Deloris’ help and discovers more about herself. Her performance of ‘The Life I Never Led’ raised the rafters.
Morgan Large’s set and costume design is effective, with a simple idea of rotating pieces to form offices or city skylines and large archways and sliding pieces forming the convent. Seeing it all come to life with the growing confidence and energy of the choir is a delight. At this performance the hanging logo used at the beginning of each act did have a little bit of a mind its, swinging perhaps a little more than intended but it was all handled with ease allowing the show to go on.
Full of energy, sass, and fun, along with some more heartfelt moments, ‘Sister Act The Musical’ is a crowd pleaser for those who have or have not seen the film version. The songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater are catchy and easily hummable and the characters are believable and easily lovable.
'Sister Act The Musical' runs at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 10 December before continuing on its UK Tour. https://www.sisteractthemusical.co.uk/uk-tour/#header