Bristol Hippodrome


Sister Act II - August 2017

Sin sisters class act

Oh my God – praise the Lord - Sister Act the musical is heavenly humour.

Now let’s get this into perspective I saw the film and didn’t like it at all, too much flaying of arms and road-runner action for me.

Like slapstick I am not a fan of manic humour (too much in real life) so hated the part Whoopi Goldberg played (I loved her in The Color Purple) therefore was left totally unmoved by the multi-billion, dollar award-winning movie.

To add to my prejudice, I also dislike the comic clowning of Robbie Williams and Jim Carrey plus the flares and flowers of 1970s fashion.

All-in-all it looked like a non-starter.

However, as this was a return visit for Sister Act to the Bristol Hippodrome and both daughter and granddaughter were keen to see it plus its previous performances got rave reviews I decided to give it a go.

And yes, it is a fast moving, high octane show, but absolutely fantastic fun and the cast were ‘fabulous dahling’.

Can’t you just hear director Craig Revel-Horwood.

What is there not to like – storyline, set, American accents and songs are all great.

And the disco lighting complete with revolving glitter ball is divine!

The excitement and energy generated on stage is palatable and contagious and big belter Alexandra Burke had me at her first song.

Sister Act tells the story of a would-be nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier played by Miss Burke who is in love with married sleaze ball mobster Curtis Shank (Aaron Lee Lambert) him with the mutton chops and tight trousers.

Deloris is taken into protective custody - after she witnesses Curtis bumping off an associate - by police lieutenant Eddie Souther aka Sweaty Eddie (Joe Vetch) who harbours a schoolboy crush for the singer.

This is where the rundown convent which serves mutton stew on Christmas day comes in – get all images of The Sound Of Music cloisters out of your head.

All isn’t quite godly with Mother Superior (Karen Mann) who gets drunk on communion wine, the smell of incense is mistaken for skunky weed and Monsignor O’Hara (Tim Maxwell-Clarke) going with the flow is determined to get bottoms on pews with raucous renditions of gospel songs.

Miss Mann’s hilarious solo Here Within These Walls sings of declining standards since Deloris took charge of the choir and includes the lament about ‘celibate nuns shaking their bums’.

And the vaudeville trio of Joey (Samuel Morgan-Grahame), Pablo (Ricky Rojas) and TJ (Sandy Grigelis) is both camp, comedic and clever – loved them.

Perhaps I need to say four hail Marys for forgiveness as these are the names of the quartet of nuns with very different characters who took the vow of poverty, chastity and obedience at the Philadelphia convent called The Holy Order of the Little Sisters of Our Mother of Perpetual Faith who wowed me and the packed audience.

If you want to know whether Deloris metamorphoses from fake blue to silver fox fur wait until the grand finale which is like a scene from Grease with guardian angel wings on top of the stairway to heaven and Sister Mary Robert the postulant (not prostitute as Deloris mistakenly thought) nun wearing her kinky purple boots.

Carol Deacon

Sister Act II

PREVIEW; Hallelujah, Sister Act is back in town with Bodyguard sensation Alexandra Burke in the lead role.
The show played the Bristol Hippodrome last September and due to popular demand is having another run.
It will play the city centre theatre from Monday to Saturday, August 7-12.
Miss Burke has been starring as Deloris Van Cartier in the national tour of the hit musical comedy which is directed and choreographed by Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood.
This show is based on the smash hit movie starring Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith and tells the hilarious story of Deloris, a disco diva whose life takes a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder.
Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a convent!
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 features original music by the eight time Oscar and Tony Award winner Alan Menken.
Alan’s credits include the films and stage musicals of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and many more.
This all new production of Sister Act has musical supervision and arrangements by Sarah Travis, set and costume design is by Matthew Wright, with lighting design by Richard G Jones and sound design by Richard Brooker.
Joining the show will be Joanna Francis as Michelle, Joe Vetch as Eddie, Karen Mann as Mother Superior and Liz Kitchen as Sister Mary Lazarus. 
Miss Burke will perform the role of Deloris at all evening performances. 
At the matinee performances, the role will be played by Joanna Francis.
Aaron Lee Lambert will play Curtis, Sarah Goggin is Sister Mary Robert, Susannah Van Den Berg is Sister Mary Patrick, Allison Harding is Sister Mary Theresa, Ricky Rojas is Pablo, Samuel Morgan-Grahame is Joey and Sandy Grigelis is TJ. 
The company also includes Nicola Bryan, Lewis Cochrane, Jennifer Douglas, Aiesha Pease, Sally Peerless and Justin Wilman.  
Alexandra Burke recently starred as Rachel Marron in the national tour of The Bodyguard a part she also played in the West End.
She originally rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor. 
Her debut number one single Hallelujah sold over one million copies in the UK, a first for a British female soloist. 
Joanna Francis has recently finished performing in the West End production of The Lion King. 
Tickets from £15.40 with concessions available at certain performances.
To read Emma Rowlands review from last September click HERE.