The Bristol Hippodrome
Monday 7th – Saturday 12th August 2017
This week we were invited to The Bristol Hippodrome to see the opening night of Sister Act, described by the producers as “A Divine musical comedy”. I have a vague recall of the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg as Deloris and Maggie Smith as Mother Superior and remember it being quite amusing, but the main reason I wanted to see the show was because of Alexandra Burke’s remarkable voice when we saw her play Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard last year. Alexandra originally rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor and her debut number one single Hallelujah sold over one million copies in the UK.
SISTER ACT STORY SYNOPSIS
After club singer Deloris Van Cartier (Alexandra Burke) witnesses a mob-killing by her boyfriend, she’s sent into a convent for her own protection where she’s expected to remain inconspicuous by dressing and behaving like one of the nuns. The convent’s Mother Superior (Karen Mann) has been praying for a miracle to save her failing church but Delores was not quite what she had in mind and it’s hard to decide whether Delores or Mother Superior is most unhappy about the situation imposed upon them. Drippy police officer, Eddie, who’s had a crush on Delores since their schooldays is determined to protect her from her crooked boyfriend, Curtis who wants her dead. Disguised as a nun and under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own.
SISTER ACT REVIEW
As we drive towards The Bristol Hippodrome, the summer roads and even our usual theatre carpark seem extraordinarily quiet and I wonder if that might reflect the size of tonight’s audience but no, when we arrive, I’m glad to see the theatre is packed!
The main set is a two story church which stays in place throughout. With the addition of a set of bars and a little desk, the area becomes a police station; a TV wheeled into place creates Eddies apartment and some lighting and a few props transform the space into a night-club.
Music is produced by cast-members who play instruments on stage while in character. The monsignor gets all showbiz with his sax and even the Mother Superior plays a trumpet. There’s a great scene when Sweaty Eddy bears his soul in song amidst a street-scene of vagrants, who, all under the influence, interject into his song and play their instruments as they stagger around. Eddy (Joe Vetch), who has a fab voice, is bemoaning that Delores doesn’t really see him, then fleetingly transforms into a pop star before resuming his own uninspiring appearance.
Dressing up, disguises and materialism are integral to the story. Delores is initially horrified at having to go “incognegro”, exchanging her club-singer getup of long suede purple boots and mini skirt for a nun’s habit which she isn’t even allowed to accessorise – perish the thought! Fortunately both the boots and a version of the mini-skirt come to good use later on.
There are plenty of funny bits as Delores tries to emulate a nun’s behaviour, like her unconventional Christmas dinner blessing:-
“Let he who is without sin get stoned first.”
I enjoy the song, “It’s Good to be a Nun” as the nuns tell a horrified Delores about the life of self-deprivation and virtue which is in store for her during her stay at the convent, whilst they plonk and strum away on their xylophone, washboard and tambourines.
Another highlight for me is the chilled out singing and acting of Curtis (Aaron Lee Lambert), Delores’s gangster, married, ex-boyfriend. He looks like he wouldn’t harm a fly doesnt he?
But the star of this show is without question, Alexandra Burke. I already appreciated her husky voice which is so powerful it fills the room, even when she whispers, but this time I enjoy her acting more too. It’s become natural and I believe in her performance as Delores.
SISTER ACT AGE SUITABILITY
The show draws upon the traditions of the Catholic Church as a source of comedy but I don’t think this is at all offensive. There are a couple of shootings which are just a quick pop of a gun, there’s a brief moment when two men are jokingly dry-humping and there may be some very mild language. I happened to take my Mother with me, rather than any children, but there’s nothing I’d have been particularly worried about any of the boys seeing, even my eight year old. I’m not sure the show would have much appeal to children though as it’s not particularly aimed at them.
Sister Act is a fun, lighthearted night out. The sound levels were uncomfortably high in places on opening night but hopefully that’s just a glitch and will have been adjusted. Having the instruments played by characters on stage adds a clever and fun element. There are some fabulous musical performances and I absolutely loved Alexandra Burke’s performance and will definitely be watching out for what she does next.
For more information or to book tickets to Sister Act, click here*. As usual, please do share your thoughts about the show or our review in the comments below.
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BOOK TICKETS TO SISTER ACT
The Bristol Hippodrome
Mon 7 – Sat 12 August
Mon – Sat 7.30pm
Wed & Sat 2.30pm
Tickets from £19.90
Concessions available at certain performances
PIN AND SAVE FOR LATER!
Enjoyed our SISTER ACT REVIEW? Then why not check out our most recent show reviews below on Practically Perfect Mums?
CAST AND CREDITS
Choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood
Alexandra Burke as ‘Deloris Van Cartier’
Joanna Francis as ‘Michelle’
Joe Vetch as ‘Eddie’
Karen Mann as ‘Mother Superior’
Liz Kitchen as ‘Sister Mary Lazarus’.
Aaron Lee Lambert will play ‘Curtis’
Sarah Goggin as ‘Sister Mary Robert’
Susannah Van Den Berg as ‘Sister Mary Patrick’
Allison Harding as ‘Sister Mary Theresa’
Ricky Rojas as‘Pablo’
Samuel Morgan-Grahame as ‘Joey’
Sandy Grigelis as ‘TJ’.
The company also includes Nicola Bryan, Lewis Cochrane, Jennifer Douglas, Aiesha Pease, Sally Peerless and Justin Wilman.
Alexandra Burke will perform the role of ‘Deloris Van Cartier’ at all evening performances. At the matinee performances, the role of ‘Deloris Van Cartier’ will be played by Joanna Francis.
DISCLOSURE: WE RECEIVED TICKETS FOR PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW. ALL OPINIONS ARE MY/OUR OWN.
*POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS WHICH PROVIDE A SMALL COMMISSION ON BOOKINGS AT NO EXTRA COST TO THE USER AND HELP FUND THIS BLOG.