Angus Saul

Sister Act – A Divine Musical Comedy by Newcastle Musical Theatre Company

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Music, murder, drama and Deloris – that’s what you get from the Newcastle upon Tyne Musical Theatre Company’s production of Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy.

The show, adapted from the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, was brought to life at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle, and this amateur production is not one to be missed.

Though it features none of the original music from the film, there are a plethora of catchy tunes, belted out by Lauren Gordon and a brilliant ensemble choir.

Gordon, plays the lead, Deloris Van Cartier, who witnesses her mobster boyfriend Curtis (played by the excellent Leon Gill) murder a police informant and is forced by the police to go into hiding in a convent.

Much of the original plot remains the same, as Deloris helps to save the church from closure by rejuvenating their choir, while Curtis’s henchmen hunt her down, but it is fleshed out significantly with larger than life characters, each with a story to tell.

Some of the lewd humour is a little crass, but it does not detract from the overall impression that this is a wonderfully funny musical comedy.

While Lauren Gordon is the lead, the real star is Helen Cash as Mother Superior, who delivers each scalpel-sharp remark with the kind of dry cynicism Maggie Smith would be proud of.

As Mother Superior, Cash provides the reserved, conservative foil for Gordon’s loud, brash, worldly Doloris, who seems hell-bent on destroying the reputation of her idyllic (yet failing) church. Both are blessed with an exceptional pair of lungs, and perfectly compliment the orchestra who were also fantastic on the night.

A couple of opening night wobbles (such as a gun not firing, and occasions when microphones were not switched on) were the only minor blips in an otherwise smooth-running night.

Angela Lawery and Sarah Wales (as Sr Mary Robert and Sr Mary Patrick respectively) were the stand out members of a strong ensemble cast.

Sister Act is on at the Theatre Royal until Saturday.

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