Friday, July 20, 2012

'Sister Act' - UK Touring Cast

I am sure many of you have seen the film of the same name starring Whoopi Goldberg on which the stage show is based on. I watch films quite rarely but I am happy I saw that one because it did make me laugh.

Sister Act at New Wimbledon Theatre
Performance: Wednesday 13th June 2012 at 19:30
Cast included: Cynthia Erivo (Deloris Van Cartier), Denise Black (Mother Superior), Michael Starke (Monsignor O'Hara), Julie Atherton (Mary Robert), Jacqueline Clarke (Mary Lazarus), Laurie Scarth (Mary Patrick), Edward Baruva (Eddie Souther), Cavin Cornwall (Curtis Jackson), Gavin Alex (Pablo), Tyrone Huntley (TJ), Daniel Stockton (Joey)

Brief plot summary: Deloris Van Cartier sees her gangster boyfriend kill a man and the police deem it necessary to hide her until his trial. She is placed in a convent and has to get accustomed to a new life as a nun under the name Sister Mary Clarence while her boyfriend's men do their best to hunt her down.

Apparently this touring production is slightly different to the West End production of 2009 (I did not personally see it though): A song has been taken out, another one added and so on. However little I enjoy comparing stage musicals to films, I must say in favour of the stage version in this case that I found it even funnier than the original film. The film is not actually a musical even though, as proved by this show, it lends itself well to one thanks to the focus on the convent choir.

One thing is certain: the audience loved the show and rewarded it with a standing ovation at the end. I got the feeling that many of the audience members present that night had seen the musical before: there was that anticipation in the air, and there was a fair amount of that special kind of cheering at the jokes (the kind where you can tell people haven't been taken by surprise). I adored the show: it was a feel-good musical with a notably clever plot. Many of the songs were catchy and the dance routines entertaining. I don't know why but there is just something hilarious about a bunch of people dressed as nuns doing a stereotypical musical theatre group number.
I really loved Mary Robert's solo song, The Life I Never Led. It is very me in style so I thought I might find the sheet music and learn it. I enjoyed all the nun group numbers, especially It's Good To Be A Nun, Raise Your Voice and Bless Our Show

Bless Our Show from the Original London Cast recording:

I absolutely agree with the multitude of people who have said Cynthia Erivo does a fantastic job of Deloris. It did not even take her half a scene to convince me I was in safe hands when it came to the portrayal of the character.

Laurie Scarth was hilarious as Sister Mary Patrick and Tyrone Huntley stood out in a positive way with his brilliant portrayal of TJ - it was the perfect part for him!
On this visit I had decided not to look at the programme in detail beforehand like I usually do in order to make a note of any familiar names. I figured I would just concentrate on seeing how each of the actors perform before finding out whether I had heard of any of them before. When Sister Mary Robert started singing, I could tell straight away the actor had to be someone famous and if she was not, she certainly ought to be. "Julie Atherton" - well, there you are. I was very happy I now had had the opportunity to hear her perform live having heard numerous recordings of her in the past. 

Julie Atherton singing The Life I Never Led:

I would definitely go and see this again! 

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