Sister Act (review)

Sister Act
Sister Act

WAS it divine intervention that allowed a trio of unknowns to play the leads in front of the region’s press critics when the sensational Sister Act opened in Milton Keynes this week?

A bug was blamed for wiping out the three leading players in the Holy high roller of musicals which is spreading love through audiences at the venue until the end of the month.

Hannah Levane used the Heaven sent opportunity to make her mark as sassy nightclub singer and nun-on-the-run Deloris Van Cartier and she stole the show. The talented disco diva had been languishing in the wings playing a bit part in the ensemble before getting the call.

Meanwhile TV and stage star Denise Black, who was to have played Mother Superior, didn’t have a prayer of getting out of her sick bed which allowed stand-in Shirley Jameson to snatch the limelight in her part.

After watching the show it’s a mystery why these two spectacularly talented actors had been consigned to the chorus when they clearly had the hand of God moving them to centre stage.

Sister Act is a phenomenal show that puts the glitz into the gospels. It’s a story about a group of sisters who take in a loud-mouthed, wise-cracking, irreligious and ambitious singer into a blessed witness protection scheme after she watched her gangster boyfriend, Curtis, gun down a man.

After leading the cloistered nuns astray she’s pout in charge of trying to drum some discipline into the choir. Words cannot describe how awful they knock out a hymn – until Deloris creates her own musical miracle.

Before not too long the crowds are flocking back to the under-threat church where the nuns pray and the choir have become celebrities. They change their habits of a lifetime and find themselves pimped and thrust into the spotlight.

Sister Act owes its success down to the casting of its central character Deloris and Levane made the part her own with her mega-watt personality and dazzling voice.

The music mixes gospel with retro 1970s Philly soul for a superfly score while the vintage costumes bring back golden memories. Ah those flares!

The witty script provides lots of laughs to make this a night to remember. TV and stage star Michael Starke makes a great Irish monsignor who does a memorable Barry White turn while the heavenly chorus of sisters are second to nun. Thank goodness Deloris didn’t hide in a silent order!

Sister Act is everything you want in a great musical. There’s tremendous singing and dancing and a heart-warming story that is brilliantly told. It’s one not to miss.

Running until June 30. For tickets call the box office 0844 871 7652 or go online www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

It would be a sin to miss it.

ANNE COX