Wolverhampton Grand Theatre Review – Sister Act the Musical

If there is one show guaranteed to make you shout Hallelujah! Take Me to Heaven and make you feel Fabulous Baby, it is Sister Act the Musical, and there are nuns on the run this week as the show bursts onto the stage the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

The production brought all the life and colour of the film to the big stage. Photo: Manuel Harlan
The production brought all the life and colour of the film to the big stage. Photo: Manuel Harlan

Sister Act is a divine musical delight, courtesy of award-winning composer Alan Menken and lyricist Glenn Slater, who together with script writers Cheri and Bill Steinkeller, must have created one of the most jubilant shows in theatre today.

We all remember the 1992 movie version, starring the incomparable, Whoopie Goldberg, but the theatrical version certainly gives it a run (or a nun!) for its money.

When nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder committed by her gangster boyfriend, he is determined to track her down and so she is forced to hide out in the most inappropriate place - a convent! To keep Deloris out of mischief she is instructed to take over the ailing choir and so begins absolute mayhem as the two worlds of angels and demons collide!

All round entertainer and funny lady, Lesley Joseph heads an extraordinarily talented cast in the role of Mother Superior, and there is no doubt she is the absolute star of the show.

Having seen Miss Joseph in a variety of roles over the years, she never disappoints, but this part is one of her best. The comedy was nothing short of side-splitting, her timing was impeccable, not to mention her superb vocal performance. The chemistry she has created with her fellow performers was palpable. Experience shows, and that is why she is one of the best-loved comedy performers in the UK today.

Not to be outdone however, Emmerdale and Call the Midwife actress, Sandra Marvin is a superb Deloris Van Cartier with a voice to die for. She is sassy and sexy, with excellent comedic timing and the ability to make you laugh out loud from just her facial expressions alone. This was perfect casting for the role.

Alfie Parker as the long-suffering flatfoot, Eddie Souther, tasked with the unenviable job of keeping Deloris in check, was hilarious too and gave an excellent vocal performance. His number I Could Be That Guy, with the fastest costume change in history, (although things did not go quite according to plan on the night!) was one of the highlights of the show and made me cry with laughter!

Sister Act the Musical at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre. Pic: Manuel Harlan

Meanwhile, Lizzie Bea, as the somewhat naïve turned feisty postulant, Sister Mary Robert, gave the vocal performance of the evening, with her number, The Life I Never Led, reducing the audience to tears with the emotion and storytelling she brought to the piece.

Sleazy gangsters Tom Hopcroft as Joey, Castell Parker as TJ and Damian Buhagiar as Pablo brought the house down with their riotous number Lady in the Long Dress, in yet another throw your head back and laugh moment in this hilarious show.

The sisters were all wonderfully portrayed by extremely talented character actresses and singers, and it was wonderful to see such a diverse supporting cast with every single member on stage playing their own individual comedy characters to perfection.

Bill Buckhurst’s direction is sharp and snappy with exceptional attention paid to wringing every drop out of the comedy moments, while Alistair David’s choreography is slick and smooth, and pitched at just the right level to ensure the whole cast can execute it. Simple, but very effective, I loved it!

An outstanding orchestra, under the musical supervision of Neil MacDonald, executed every number with style, making you want to sing a long and are certainly as much a part of this vibrant show as the actors.

The songs in the show differ from the movie version, but with numbers including Take Me To Heaven, Fabulous Baby, Within These Walls, Spread The Love and of course the title song, Sister Act which is wonderfully moving, who can complain?

The look and feel of the production were much more authentic than some shows I have seen post-Covid, and money has clearly been spent particularly on the costumes, to ensure this is a quality production.

All in all, Sister Act the Musical is completely unmissable. It is entertaining, will lift your spirits and set you singing and dancing all the way home.

It is a cliché I know and it has been said a million times, but this show is nothing short of FABULOUS BABY!

Call 01902 429212 or visit grandtheatre.co.uk for tickets. Runs until Saturday.

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