Andy Howells reviews Sister Act – the Musical at Wales Millennium Centre starring Landi Oshinowo.
Praise be! Sister Act – The Musical arrived at Wales Millennium Centre on Tuesday evening and is a colourful, joyous spectacle from start to finish!
Its 1977, and disco diva Deloris’ goes on the run from her gangster boyfriend after she witnesses a murder. Placed under protective custody in a convent, Deloris’ assumes a new identity as a nun. Much to the Mother Superior’s despair, it seems the convent’s newest member is helping the existing sisters find their true calling from a struggling choir to a heaven-sent gospel act, while unexpectedly rediscovering her own voice.
The Sister Act ensemble comprise a divine collective of comedic and musical talent whose stage presence uplift the narrative as the story unfolds.
Landi Oshinowo totally owns the role of nun on the run Deloris’, as she projects a sassy, charismatic personality underpinned with heartfelt soul from Take Me to Heaven via Fabulous Baby! to Sister Act!
Elsewhere on stage, every actor triggers an abundance of well-rehearsed laughs. Throwbacks to the filmic slapstick humour of Mack Sennett are evident in Deloris’ initial escape from the gangsters via a Pedicab and the sister’s subsequent round-up of the criminal gang.
The perfectly choreographed musical numbers capture the essence of the 70s era soul inspired Phillysound. This is evident when the spotlight shines on Alfie Parker as Steady Eddie, disposing of his comedic Policeman image in the glorious, I Could Be That Guy. In a similar vein, Joey, TJ, and Pablo (Callum Martin, Bradley Judge and Damian Buhagiar) later become the smoothest of criminals as they plot their way into the convent with a soulful rendition of Lady in the Long Black Dress.
Adding to the heaven-sent performances are the sisters of the convent, Lizzie Bea as Sister Mary Robert, Isabel Canning as Sister Mary Patrick, Julie Stark as Sister Mary Lazarus, Lori Haley Fox as sister Mary Martin of Tours and Wendy-Lee Purdy as Sister Mary Theresa. All actors present memorable characterisations giving value for money as we look for each individual appearance.
Heading up the convent are Lesley Joseph as Mother Superior and Wales own Phillip Arran as Monsignor O’ Hara, A match made in heaven, this duo delivers an enjoyable comedic rapport, especially when reacting to the choir’s unexpected new-found singing talents. Finally, Ian Gareth Jones more than competently heads up a bunch of comedic gangster hoodlums as Curtis, the gangster we love to hate!
A colourful set recreates elements of the convent and night clubs while clever staging add surprising elements, particularly as the nuns all magically appear at one point in Eddie’s bedroom!
It was quite something to witness the upliftment and joy of the audience at the climax of the show on Tuesday evening. As the cast sing Take me To Heaven, you’ll find your heaven bound with this uplifting musical. Sister Act continues until Saturday November 18th.