Music: Alan Menkin
Lyrics: Glenn Slater
Book: Bill and Cheri Steinkellner
Director: Craig Revel Horwood
Reviewer: Rebecca Cohen
Blackpool’s latest musical theatre offering is certainly one to shout Hallelujah about, as chaos and choreography are brought to the convent in the most uplifting and electrifying way. Sister Act is an absolute must see, with stunning vocal displays from the entire cast and a jaw-dropping performance from the star of the show, Alexandra Burke.
Directed and choreographed by television favourite Craig Revel Horwood, Sister Act follows principal character and wannabe superstar Deloris Van Cartier (Burke) as she is unwillingly forced into a nunnery after getting involved with the ‘bad boy’ Curtis (Aaron Lee Lambert) and his group of good for nothing friends. But despite starting off sour about her temporary hideaway, she soon starts injecting her big personality and love for music into all the other sisters, taking over the choir and making lifelong friends in a way she never thought possible…
Former X Factor winner Burke is just supreme, and it is clear to see why she is making such a name for herself as a talent on the boards, having previously starred as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard in the West End and on the national tour. Not only is she on another level of perfection vocally, but she also more than proves herself as a master of the ‘triple threat’ – her dancing, albeit simplistic, being executed with ease, and her acting ability leaving audiences both moved and in stitches. Her comedic timing remains one of her key strengths throughout the show, and her energy levels never falter from start to finish.
But it takes more than Burke to leave a filled auditorium on their feet, and on opening night at Blackpool, the outstanding cast managed just that – their camaraderie and passion for this production shining through, and placing it as one of the strongest [sister] acts on the scene. It’s fun, it’s frivolous, and it’s fabulous – everything that a piece of musical theatre should be. Like most, it does have its more forgettable numbers, but this is more than made up for in the toe-tapping renditions of songs such as Take Me to Heaven, Fabulous, Baby!, and Do the Sacred Mass. Burke’s powerful and heartfelt version of the title song Sister Act is absolutely spine-tingling, and her ability to hit all emotions within an audience in a short space of time gives reason to believe that she is going to be a real hit when she takes to the dance floor in Series 15 of Strictly Come Dancing.
While there isn’t one weak link within the cast, Sarah Goggin as Sister Mary Robert is a name to remember. Goggin has that unique quality that draws you to her performance on the stage, and her characterisation and strong rapport with Burke, in particular, is a joy to watch.
Sisters really are doing it for themselves in this production, with the ladies, rightly so, absolutely stealing the show. This is light-hearted and feel-good entertainment at its very finest, which will ultimately leave you confessing your unwavering love for sisters and the show-stopping spectacle that they create when they unite together.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed