13 November 2017 (released)
14 November 2017
Born out of the hit 1992 movie, Sister Act, the musical, is the story of Deloris, a wannabe singing star who’s mixed up with a gangster but enters a convent for witness protection. The brash performer incarcerated with the conservative nuns provides plenty of fish-out-of-water comedy moments, as well as transformative character development as each finds they have something to learn from the other. Throw in some hoodlums, sweet guy love interest, and a threat to the convent’s very existence, and there’s quite enough story to propel the show through to its rousing finale.
The Theatre Royal Windsor commissioned this production by University Centre Weston, and the show is performed by a cast of current students and recent graduates of their Performing Arts, Musical Theatre and Dance degree courses, backed up by a professional creative team and crew.
Sian Gentle-Green stars as Deloris, kicking off the show with a blast, only to have her bubble burst yet again by the dastardly Curtis. Sian has a wonderfully full and powerful voice that’s well suited to the role, giving her a big stage presence that really carries the show along. The first half of the first act of this opening night perhaps felt a little like the cast were still warming themselves up on this cold November evening, but they really hit their stride by the time Raise Your Voice and Take Me to Heaven took us in to the interval, giving a foretaste of much more to come in act two.
Once Deloris has taken over the baton for the nuns’ choir, the energy put out by the cast surges as they sing and dance through to the climax, and there’s still time for comedy and solo spots. Daniel Walker impressed as Eddie, singing I Could Be That Guy with a cool presence, Molly Fairchild as Sister Mary Roberts gave a compelling rendition of The Life I Never Lead, while the hoodlums certainly made me laugh with Lady in the Long Black Dress, redolent of the 70s smooth soul hit Float On, the gangster trio including Kelsey Harding comically cross-dressing as Pablo.
A very enjoyable evening to be had then at the Theatre Royal Windsor in the hands of this lively young cast. If this is your local theatre then you really should get down there for this, to support the venue and the ambitious performers, as well as, of course, to set your feet tapping and hands clapping, and feel fabulous (baby!).