When I was invited to see Sister Act at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, I was thrilled. I love both movies and was confident that it was going to go straight to my top five.
If you're unfamiliar with the story- Delores Van Cartier is a singer who witnesses her boyfriend- Curtis (Aaron Lee Lambert) murder one of his boys who he believes to have gone to the police. To keep her safe- she is sent by Officer Eddie (Jon Robyns) to the last place her partner will ever think to look for her- a convent.
The nuns who reside there form the basis of the church choir but need a lot of help and Deloris is tasked by the Mother Superior (Karen Mann) to listen to each other and help them work as a team.
If you are going in the hope that Sister Act on stage will follow the same format as the movie- ala Dirty Dancing- like I did- you will be sorely disappointed. If you go expecting a brand new take on a beloved nineties movie- you will get more out of the experience.
Although the story loosely follows the one of the film, it takes some artistic licence and adds in new elements- such as an unexpected romance between Deloris and cop 'Sweaty Eddie'.
The original score brought something different to the show but I was hoping they would include one of the more well-known songs from the movie. A dose of 'My Guy', 'Just a Touch of Love' or 'Rescue Me'- but alas- there was no familiarity to the songs at all which made it hard to tap along to. I was holding out for the finale to include a tune we could all sing along to but this never happened and I was left feeling a little deflated.
Alexandra Burke was on top form as she always is. Although there were snapshots of Whoopi's version of the character with familiar lines and gestures- she made it her own and brought her unique brand of comedy to the part. I could listen to her vocals all day long- this woman can do no wrong when she's on stage.
There needs to be an obvious transition from bad to good in the nun's singing abilities- its integral to the story, however, this element was overdone on stage and made it difficult to listen to at times.
With that said- most of the cast not only acted and sang- but also played an instrument- so I am in no doubt that a lot of hard work went into this performance as a result.
If you are curious about this production- you are better going into it with an open mind and put the movie to one side. You can easily identify the key characters but this production is more of a stand-alone piece- much like Wicked is. Go and make up your own mind but leave any preconceptions at the door and simply take it for what it is.
tagged in Liverpool Empire Theatre