REVIEW: SISTER ACT (Empire Theatre, Sunderland) ★★★
September 6, 2016  //  By:   //  Musicals, Reviews, UK Tours  //  Comments are off

sister act

Ambitious club singer Deloris Van Cartier (Alexandra Burke) sees her controlling gangster boyfriend Curtis (Aaron Lee Lambert) commit murder and former schoolmate ‘Sweaty’ Eddie Souther (Jon Robyn) arranges police protection. The book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner follows the rough outline of Joseph Howard’s film starring Whoopi Goldberg. Somewhat incongruously, the safe house chosen by the cops is a convent, which gets shaken to its religious foundations by the heroine, in her new guise as Sister Mary Clarence. Appointed to supervise the tone-deaf choir, she turns them into a group of swinging sisters whose sudden fame imperils both her and their safety.

None of the songs from the film feature in the show, which is a shame. Alan Menkin supplies dutiful versions of the musical-theater standards: comic numbers for the club owner, Curtis and his henchmen; a romantic groove for Eddie and climactic soul-baring ballads for Deloris, the mother superior and Sister Mary Robert, in which each questions the tenets of their personal faith. But with the exception of a couple of roof raisers, the songs in “Sister Act” are more serviceable than memorable.

The show is billed as a star vehicle for Alexandra Burke but there are much brighter stars on the stage. Karen Mann as Mother Superior is amazing, especially in her “drunk” scene. Rosemary Ashe gives a masterclass in performance as Sister Mary Lazarus and Sarah Goggin is phenomenal as Sister Mary Robert.

Star of the show for me was Jon Robyns as Detective Eddie. He shows depth and warmth and real human heart in the role. His song “Sweaty Eddie” where he rips his clothes off from cop to Travolta back to cop was hilarious.

There are moments in the show which are very good, but this is a very average show being lifted up by some very outstanding performers.

Reviewed by Lindsay Sykes

 

SISTER ACT Tour Dates
MONDAY 5 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2016
SUNDERLAND EMPIRE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/sunderland-empire

MONDAY 12 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY 17 SEPTEMBER 2016
BIRMINGHAM ALEXANDRA THEATRE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-alexandra-theatre-birmingham

MONDAY 19 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY 24 SEPTEMBER 2016
BRISTOL HIPPODROME – www.atgtickets.com/venues/bristol-hippodrome

MONDAY 26 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY 1 OCTOBER 2016
MILTON KEYNES – www.atgtickets.com/venues/milton-keynes-theatre

MONDAY 3 OCTOBER – SATURDAY 8 OCTOBER 2016
GLASGOW KING’S THEATRE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre/

MONDAY 10 OCTOBER – SATURDAY 15 OCTOBER 2016
LIVERPOOL EMPIRE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/liverpool-empire

MONDAY 17 OCTOBER – SATURDAY 22 OCTOBER 2016
HIGH WYCOME SWAN – www.wycombeswan.co.uk/

MONDAY 24 OCTOBER – SATURDAY 29 OCTOBER 2016
TRURO HALL FOR CORNWALL – www.hallforcornwall.co.uk/Online

MONDAY 31 OCTOBER – SATURDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2016
IPSWICH REGENT THEATRE – www.apps.ipswich.gov.uk/PEO/

MONDAY 7 NOVEMBR – SATURDAY 12 NOVEMBER 2016
BELFAST GRAND OPERA HOUSE – www.goh.co.uk

MONDAY 14 NOVEMBER – SATURDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2016
DUBLIN BORD GAIS – www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

MONDAY 21 NOVEMBER – SATURDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2016
SOUTHEND CLIFFS THEATRE – www.southendtheatres.org.uk/

MONDAY 28 NOVEMBER – SATURDAY 3 DECMBER 2016
NEW WIMBLEDON THEATRE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-wimbledon-theatre/

MONDAY 5 DECEMBER – SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER 2016
GREAT MALVERN THEATRE – www.malvern-theatres.co.uk
ALEXANDRA BURKE WILL NOT BE PERFORMING AT THIS VENUE. THE ROLE OF ‘DELORIS VAN CARTIER’ WILL BE PLAYED BY JOANNA FRANCIS.

MONDAY 12 DECEMBER – SATURDAY 17 DECEMBER 2016
CAMBRIDGE CORN EXCHANGE – www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk
ALEXANDRA BURKE WILL NOT BE PERFORMING AT THIS VENUE. THE ROLE OF ‘DELORIS VAN CARTIER’ WILL BE PLAYED BY JOANNA FRANCIS.

MONDAY 2 JANUARY – SATURDAY 7 JANUARY 2017
DARTFORD ORCHARD THEATRE – www.orchardtheatre.co.uk

MONDAY 16 JANUARY – SATURDAY 21 JANUARAY 2017
SHEFFIELD LYCEUM – www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/

MONDAY 23 JANUARY – SATURDAY 28 JANUARY 2017
SWANSEA GRAND – http://www.swansea.gov.uk/

MONDAY 30 JANUARY – SATURDAY 11 FEBRUARY 2017
NOTTINGHAM THEATRE ROYAL – www.trch.co.uk

MONDAY13 FEBRUARY – 18 FEBRUARY 2017
CARLISLE SANDS CENTRE – www.thesandscentre.co.uk/

MONDAY 20 FEBRUARY – SATURDAY 25 FEBRUARY 2017
BRADFORD ALHAMBRA – www.bradford-theatres.co.uk/venues/the-alhambra-theatre

MONDAY 27 FEBRUARY – SATURDAY 4 MARCH 2017
WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE – www.grandtheatre.co.uk/

MONDAY 20 MARCH – SATURDAY 25 MARCH 2017
WOKING NEW VICTORIA THEATRE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-victoria-theatre/

MONDAY 3 APRIL – SATUDAY 15 APRIL 2017
EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/edinburgh-playhouse/

MONDAY 17 APRIL – SATURDAY 29 APRIL 2017
CARDIFF WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE – www.wmc.org.uk

MONDAY 8 MAY –SATURDAY 13 MAY 2017
STOKE REGENT THEATRE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/regent-theatre/

MONDAY 15 MAY – SATURDAY 20 MAY 2017
OXFORD NEW THEATRE – www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-theatre-oxford/

TUESDAY 6 JUNE – SATURDAY 17 JUNE 2017
SOUTHAMPTON MAYFLOWER THEATRE – www.mayflower.org.uk

MONDAY 19 JUNE – SATURDAY 24 JUNE 2017
NEWCASTLE THEATRE ROYAL – www.theatreroyal.co.uk/

MONDAY 26 JUNE – SATURDAY 1 JULY 2017
CANTERBURY THE MARLOWE THEATRE – www.marlowetheatre.com/

MONDAY 3 JULY – SATURDAY 15 JULY 2017
PLYMOUTH THEATRE ROYAL – www.theatreroyal.com/