Bollington Light Opera Group
Director: Diane McIntyre and Matthew Gratton
Musical Director: Ian Jones
Choreography: Matthew Gratton and Diane McIntyre
Additional Choreography: Steph K Evans
Sister Act was a low-budget film that defied the critics by becoming a hit at the box office. It also garnered for Whoopi Goldberg a third Golden Globe nomination, her first for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical. The musical, with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, book by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner, is based on the 1992 film and the show premiered in Pasadena in 2006. It opened in London in 2009. This feel good musical comedy soon became a much loved show around the world. Whoopi Goldberg was a producer of the musical production. It has been seen on Broadway and many countries world wide.
Set in Philadelphia in 1978, a simple but very effective in-house set allowed the action to flow. The stage manager and crew made sure the scene changes didn’t hinder the story telling, while a creative lighting plot gave depth and atmosphere. The sound was well balanced and aided the production. Molly Limpet’s luscious costumes were absolutely right for the unfolding narrative.
The direction was “heavenly”, energetic and fun to watch, Everyone in the company contributed to the success of the production. The choreography was slick and captured the disco era. Plaudits must go to the MD, and the very fine orchestra whose members’ playing was flawless. All these elements, when brought together, delivered a vibrant, entertaining show.
The story really gets going when a police witness needs a place to hide and is taken in by a convent. The sisters carried the show. There is something about seeing nuns dancing and being “funky”, it’s just funny. All the tone-deaf, rosary wielding, cloistered woman-of-faith were all individual characters. Within the order is Sister Mary Lazarus, played by Kate Holt, with Lynsey Cooper, as Sister Mary Patrick. They were animatedly portrayed with comedic results. Postulant Sister Mary Roberts is lacking in confidence but she finds her strength through her music. Rebekah Tomkinson, as Sister Mary, gave a solid performance. Her solo “The Life I Never Led” captured the character.
Vigilant Mother Superior, looking after her flock, was convincingly portrayed by Steph Evans. Steph was a good match for her wayward, self-absorbed, gospel singers, her flock. An equal to Mother Superior was Monsignor O’Hara who was exuberantly played by Craig Harris.
The macho men of gangland leader, Curtis (Richard Comish), and his three stooges, Joey (Paul Yandell), TJ (David Taggart), and Pablo (Giles Gaddum), were well cast. They looked as though they had just stepped out of an episode of “Starsky and Hutch”. Their musical numbers were entertaining. Ricard Comish was “hip”, when delivering the ballad, “When I Find My Baby”. Joey, Pablo and TJ’s fantasy number, “The Lady in the Long Black Dress” was well conceived and executed. The cross-dressing ladies in long black dresses were great fun.
Lovelorn policeman, Eddie, doesn’t have much strength of character. and he wishes he was like other guys. Michael Scott was convincing as the uninspiring, Sweaty Eddie. He had fun with his disco number, “I Could Have Been That Guy”.
We met all these characters because cabaret singer, Deloris Van Cartier, unintentionally becomes a witness to a murder. The murder is committed by her married boyfriend gangster, Curtis. Filling those big platform boots was Rebecca Hart. Deloris finds another calling, which is to turn the nun’s choir into something to behold. Rebeca was completely in the driving seat with her sassy portrayal and a voice that soared effortlessly. It was quite a performance.
From habits to sequins, this show just sparkled. Hallelujah!