Theatre Review of Sister Act the Musical at the London Palladium

Hallelujah! Singing isn’t the only thing raised to the rafters!  Raise your Praises, as well!

Who knew an evening with Nuns could be so fun!! It started even before ‘Sister Act’ began when the voice of Whoopi Goldberg welcomes you and gives a friendly and amusing warning to turn off your mobiles or she ‘will find you’. Go Whoopi! So, the amusement began before the show.

I think everyone knows the story but for those who’ve never seen the film… this is a little bit about it. Deloris Van Cartier is a singer / performer in Las Vegas. She thinks her boss (and lover), Shank, is going to leave his wife and also encourage her singing career. He does neither, of course. She gets fed up and decides to leave. As she is leaving, she witnesses her man and his thugs killing someone. She goes to the police. At the police station, she is reacquainted with someone she went to school with, Eddie, who is now a police officer but she doesn’t take him very serious (he doesn’t even carry a gun). He suggests the Witness Protection Plan to keep her safe until the trial. He looks for a suitable place for her to hide and much to Deloris’ protest, Eddie places her in a Church with Nuns. The laughter, antics and drama that ensues will keep you engrossed and amused. Deloris or Sister Mary Clarence as she is known to her ‘Sisters’ has a difficult time adjusting to the life of a nun but you see as she bonds with the other nuns… and how they bring the best out in each other not only in every day life but as a choir. She’s no longer just a show girl as you see Deloris grow. And, it’s her spirit and determination that brings the people into the church. And it’s fun and funny watching as the church grows as the community starts taking interest… money starts coming in and the church gets some much needed repairs. If the nuns’ singing is good enough to bring the Pope to the church, it is good enough to keep you entertained. It’s interesting as well to see how Eddie develops / changes and becomes the man he has been inside all along and shows that side to Deloris eventually. I won’t say anything more about the story. We know the ‘good guys’ win but go see it for yourself to experience the fabulous journey to that destination!

It’s always amazing what can be done with scenery in such a seemingly small space of a stage. It was particularly the case with the stage at the London Palladium for Sister Act. It was terrific how it easily transformed from a Las Vegas stage to an alley to Shank’s pad to the Church to a bar and so on. It added to the quality of the show already enhanced by the expertise and interaction of the actors.

I found the crowd really engrossed with the show… cheering, laughing, interested in the love aspect, enjoying the singing (and dancing!) and even turned on by Shank’s thugs during ‘Lady in the Long Black Dress’. TJ, Bones and Dinero had their own fan club, I do believe, and may have got some women’s numbers after the show!

Watching ‘Sweaty Eddie’ change from the mild, meek guy to the sexy, self-assured man was a pleasure to watch during, ‘I Could Be That Guy’.

Mother Superior was terrific as she went from vocally protesting to noticeably protecting their Sister Mary Clarence (aka Deloris). I loved Sister Mary Patrick’s enthusiasm and boundless energy. Sister Mary Robert was sweet and seemed to blossom before our eyes. But, I absolutely adored Sister Mary Lazarus. She gave the best one-liners that kept you in stitches and to watch her go was fun. She reminds you of an Estelle Getty or of my wee Grandmother… spunky! All the nuns were great… their acting, dancing, and singing were inspirational. Monsignor Howard added to it all with his appearances.

Patina Miller’s performance of Deloris / Sister Mary Clarence was top-notch. She was strong in vocals and acting. There were times I could have swore it was Whoopi Goldberg I heard.

I missed some of the songs / hymns from the original movie but that doesn’t take away from the songs included in / made for the show.

It was fantastic how the ‘Poooooooope’ stood and waived to the Sisters in the final act. I thought it was the Conductor but when I looked back a minute later, the Conductor was standing there again and couldn’t have changed that quick or could he. It was priceless and was the cherry on top of the already sweetly, satisfying sundae.

Well done, Whoopi Goldberg and Stage Entertainment!  It’s a two thumbs up to all the cast and crew of ‘Sister Act’.

Sister Act is playing at the classic and stylish London Palladium in London’s fabulous West End.  While it is bound for much success… don’t wait – go see it now!  Be ‘part of one terrific Sister Act’.  You’ll be glad you did!

by Ann Kamran (stagetalk.co.uk)

[Rating:4.0/5]

External Reviews from Popular Press:

Glorious Fun! The Daily Telegraph
 

A divine all singing, all dancing musical comedy! Daily Express
 

Patina Miller – a star is born Magic FM
 

Sheila Hancock is splendid! Daily Express
 

Sister Act answered all my prayers and more! Daily Mail 

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