Monday, 21 November 2011

'Sister Act', Edinburgh Playhouse, 2/11/11

I was never really interested in dragging my arse to London to see the stage version of Sister Act despite my enjoyment of the film. I’d heard one or two of the songs and they were enjoyable enough. I was also aware (since the first production several years ago in America) that the plot (and period) had been changed but I simply wasn’t entranced enough to dig into my wallet to fork out for this show out of all the others that exist.
Natch the show announced its closing and then a tour was announced. Between these events the show moved to Broadway in a revised and re-directed version. It was this update that was to tour the UK and its coming close to me (and the nagging of a friend who did want to see it) was a more attractive option.

The show is as exuberant as the best and was a very enjoyable night out. The production may not have all the trappings of a West End or Broadway production but the slightly altered set was effective, evocative and serviced the show well. Likewise all the other elements - lighting, costume and sound – were quite excellent. As was the orchestra and the musical direction which truly brought the music to life creating a pounding disco atmosphere that had the audience in thrall together with the laugh out loud script which had the sell-out audience in stitches. That revised script also fleshed out characters from the film and altered the plot sufficiently to keep the basics of the film’s plot together with fresh material to engage the audience.

The cast were flawless and, though it’s not always nice to compare, I felt they outdid those that feature on the London cast recording. Certainly Deloris (Cynthia Erivo) packed a punch both vocally and in her comedic skills, not to mention her creating a character that was not a mere rehash of the Whoopi Goldberg film performance. Denise Black as the Mother Superior shone a different light onto the hardened character bringing a husky, bluesy vocal quality that I really liked.
The production received a very well deserved standing ovation and I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the show again when it comes even closer to my current habitat.

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