words: ANGHARAD BROWN
I can’t imagine there are many people out there who haven’t seen the film Sister Act starring Whoopi Goldberg, or at least have an idea of the storyline. If you’re yet to see it, just stick ITV on the television on any given Sunday and you’re soon to come across it. The music that features in the film is perhaps one of its most iconic parts, with classics such as I Will Follow Him and My Guy given a gospel choir makeover. Because of this, I was sceptical that the stage show would match up to the film, considering that none of the original music was allowed to be used. But I needn’t have worried: Alan Menken and Glenn Slater have done a fantastic job of creating an original music score which is just as catchy as the music in the film.
Cynthia Erivo, as Deloris Van Cartier (Goldberg’s character), was absolutely incredible with an astonishing voice and with the necessary charisma for such a big role. Julie Atherton, who played Sister Mary Robert, also wowed the audience with her powerful and rich voice, creating the same ‘hair raised on back of neck moment’ when Sister Mary sings for the first time in the film. As perhaps you’d expect with such a title, the women definitely stole the show from the male performers (including Sinbad from Brookside).
When the audience became the congregation during the choir’s sets, I had a flashback to an occasion when I was forced to attend a happy-clappy church service; the type where people raise their hands in an attempt to feel closer to God before fainting in the aisles. Once the feeling of dread passed, I began to enjoy the show again. As with most musicals, if you don’t fully embrace the cheesiness of the show, you’ve got no chance of enjoying it. But if you’re a fan of the film and you’re open to the idea of spending several hours with some nuns, a lot of sequins and some catchy showtunes, then you have until Sat 4 Aug to see it.