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Live review: Sister Act at The Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent

Light-hearted, warm and hilarious – Sister Act (A Divine Musical Comedy) opened at The Regent Theatre, in Hanley, on Monday night bringing a scintillating slice of soul to the stage from the Sisters of Perpetual Sorrow.

Based on the 1992 hit film, the stage show follows the same story of a sassy soul singer who ends up in hiding in a convent after being witness to a crime.

Played by Landi Oshinowo, Deloris Van Cartier discovers the true meaning of sisterhood while taking the nuns on a journey of their own through their roles in the choir. Oshinowo is outstanding in the role, her powerful voice filling the theatre and dominating the stage with a performance that is both natural and brilliant. Funny, engaging and hugely talented, Oshinowo is a joy to watch.

But it is all of the performances that make this show such a success with a series of well crafted characters played fantastically for comic effect to ensure the laughter keeps rolling from start to finish. As the stern Mother Superior, Lesley Joseph is excellent, while each of the sisters in the convent are played to great effect – with their quirks and foibles being played out to maximise the comedy value at every turn. Isabel Canning is outstanding as the hilariously enthusiastic Sister Mary Patrick, while Jackie Pulford as Sister Mary Lazarus brings further laughs as she transforms into a key member of the choir.

Lizzie Bea as Sister Mary Robert, Lori Hayley Fox as Sister Mary Martin of Tours and Wendy-Lee Purdy as Sister Mary Theresa complete the choir. The interplay between these characters and Deloris is central to the storyline, providing the warmth and a constant flurry of laugh out loud moments.

As well as providing plenty of humour, the sisters’ singing in the choir is what the play is really all about and the songs are fantastic. The soul-laden numbers are uplifting and entertaining in equal measure, with atmospheric lighting heightening the onstage drama and sense of excitement.

There is a good dollop of disco too, with glitter balls, and a comic dance routine with ‘policemen’ straight out of the style book of Studio 54 backing up the fantastic Alfie Parker as ‘Steady’ Eddie Southern – the friendly officer charged with Deloris’ care.

Sister Act is a genuine laugh out loud feelgood experience, with every part played exceptionally and even the henchmen, led by Ian Gareth-Jones as Curtis Jackman, delivering plenty of humour.
Genuinely funny, Sister Act is the sort of gentle, but genuine humour that is a great antidote to the stresses of life. Sister act is at The Regent Theatre, in Hanley until Saturday, September 30. – buy tickets online.


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