Sister Act has been touring the UK for the past few months, and it’s finally landed in Ipswich for the week at the Regent Theatre.
However, it had an unfortunate start as there was a 30 minute delay due to technical difficulties, which left the audience mildly agitated. Therefore, it had to perhaps work a little harder to win back their focus… and I think it succeeded.
For those that don’t know, the musical is based on the 1992 film of the same name, that tells the story of a disco diva, Deloris Van Cartier (Alexandra Burke), whose life takes a sudden twist when she witnesses a murder. This puts her life at risk, and is forced to be hidden in a place she won’t be found – a Convent! Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices, as well as rediscovering her own.
The cast was led by Alexandra Burke as Deloris Van Cartier, a woman who many of us have known from the start of her career on X-Factor, and she did a stellar job; oozing in glamour, sass, high-energy and wit. I haven’t seen the film to make comparisons, but I think she brought everything that you’d expect to see in the character to life. In fact, the entire cast were brilliant and gave outstanding performances, that gave the audience plenty of laughs.
With music by Alan Menken, aka the man that brought us the music from the like of Disney’s Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast, among many others; and lyrics penned by Glenn Slater, it was due to be a hit with me. You can definitely hear elements of Menken’s style seep through, but majority of the songs send you right into the heart of a 70s American disco. As well as that, this was an actor-musician show, so it was exciting to see that on stage; especially in a big touring production. A highlight track for me was “Fabulous Baby!” which I had stuck in my head on the whole way home. The only grievance is that sometimes the sound wasn’t as sharp as it could have been – but I don’t believe that was through any fault of their own.
The set was rather simple, yet effective and subtle changes took you through each scene. The costumes were lovely and fitting to the era – though probably 80% of it was the nun costumes! The show is directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, and having gone in knowing very little or having any prior comparisons, I think he and his team have created a very slick production.
Overall, the story was fairly formulaic and predictable – but nothing short of fun. It was crammed with a variety of crime, drama, romance and above all comedy. It paid homage to the power of of friendship, sisterhood and music; and was set to a great score that you couldn’t really resist the urge to tap along to. By the end a number of the audience (albeit a slightly underwhelming number in my opinion) were stood up, clapping and dancing along and the woman next to me even turned to say “that was FABULOUS!” and proceeded to chant “MORE!”. It’s a light-hearted, comedic and energetic show that could be enjoyed by all, and a worthwhile watch.
[box type=”info” align=”” class=”” width=””]The show runs at the Ipswich Regent until Saturday 5th November. The tour continues through to 2017, including visits to Southend and Cambridge in the next few weeks. For more information or to book visit sisteractuktour.co.uk / ipswichregent.co.uk.[/box]