Friday, 5 June 2009

Sister Act - The London Palladium

Sister Act - A Divine Musical Comedy
Music: Alan Menkin
Lyrics: Glenn Slater
Book: Cheri & Bill Steinkellner
Director: Peter Schneider
Choreographer: Anthony Van Lasst
Reviewer : Stephanie Rowe

When you mention Sister Act today, everyone automatically thinks of the show girl who finds herself in a convent, after witnessing her gangster boyfriend murder a man, they think straight away of Whoopi Goldberg playing this nun in the film, and the musical is the film reincarnated.

This musical comedy is definitely going to pull in the crowds, with its quick wit and toe tapping musical numbers written by Disney stalwart Alan Menkin, you cannot help but to hum along to the songs and watch spellbound, awaiting the next hilarious antic of Sister Mary Clarence played Patina Miller who is making her West End debut.

Patina brings all the fun and characteristics we expect from Deloris, giving the nun the comedy factor and confidence we see throughout the film. Her voice is fantastic the musical range is phenomenal and she has you mesmerized from the second she appears on stage and throughout the rest of the show.

Julia Suttons performance as Sister Mary Lazarus is enthralling she makes this role stand out from the rest as the sharp tongued and elderly nun who obviously feels she has missed out on life through her choice to join the convent. Sheila Hancock takes on the position of Mother Superior with all the panache and integrity one would hope to find in a nun of this calibre. Other mentions must go to Ian Lavender for his part of Monsignor Howard, Claire Greenway for Sister Mary Patrick and Chris Jarman for Shank, in fact the whole cast are stunning from start to finish.

The set designed by Klara Zieglerova helps the story line move from show bar to the different areas of the convent smoothly and although you notice when the set is changing, it is done so tastefully and skilfully that it does not distract from what is happening within the show at all the chase scene is one of this sets highlights! Lighting by Natasha Katz shrewdly gives the impression of a dark dismal convent with creepy dark corners and candle lit cells.

Choreography by Anthony Van Laast is fast moving and jazzy and really brings the musical numbers alive adding to the excitement of the show. Director Peter Schneider keeps this musical within the bounds of the original novel and the film and under his direction the show has all the get up and go needed to ensure you do not have one minute to look at your watch or wonder when your going to have a break because no sooner has it started, it has finished even though you have been in the theatre for over 2 and ½ hours, boredom does not get a chance to set in.

Having seen many musicals in my life this has to go down as one of the best and no doubt with its strong cast and strong direction will continue to play to packed houses for many months to come.
For more info on Sister Act - Click Here
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