Opening Sister Act

Feb 16 2015 | By More
Bohemians get into the habit

The Bohemians are taking over the King’s Theatre this week, with their production of Sister Act, the musical based on the Whoopi Goldberg movie.

Opening on Wednesday 18 February 2015, the production features Niloo-Far Khan as Deloris, the Reno lounge singer who witnesses a gang murder and is put on the witness protection programme.

Dorothy Johnstone as Mother Superior, with her choir of nuns. Photo Phil Wilkinson

Dorothy Johnstone as Mother Superior (right), with her choir of nuns. Photo Phil Wilkinson

Playing against her is Dorothy Johnstone as the straight-laced Mother Superior of the Convent where Deloris is hidden. And this is where Deloris quickly gets to know the Sisters and uses her musical talents to breathe new life in to the dire sound of the Convent Choir.

Director Colin Cairncross told Æ: “Sister Act is what you expect – if you imagine the film, it is the same story. However, it is set in a different time period so the music is different.

“The challenge for us is to get it as vibrant and exciting as the film – but on the stage with a different environment, different vibe and different techniques. And it is just fabulous to work with all these lovely talented nuns. Getting them to sing badly is another challenge, let us put it that way.”

That change of time is from the late sixties of Whoopi Goldberg’s original 1992 movie, to the late seventies. Which means disco. Lots of it.

The other big challenge for any company taking the show on is making it stand out as one of the early companies to get the amateur rights which become generally available next year.

let go of the preconceptions

“When you read a script for the first time, you try and let go of the preconceptions,” says Cairncross. “For me it was trying to get the vibrancy of the line, try and get the stage so it is always active. We have a set that was built for the show, so we are constrained by that, but how you use that set is up to you.”

The Sister Act Ensemble. Photo Phil Wilkinson

Niloo-Far Khan as Deloris (centre) with the Sister Act ensemble. Photo Phil Wilkinson

Formed in 1909, The Bohemians Lyric Opera Company (to give it its full title), is “committed to bringing high quality productions of musicals and musical plays to Edinburgh and East of Scotland audiences”.

Although its home has often been at the King’s, the three productions since it staged Singing the Rain in 2010 have been up at the Church Hill Theatre, so that while this is Cairncross’s fifth show directing the Bohemians it is his first in the King’s.

Cairncross told Æ: “For me it is like coming home because I used to be on stage with the Bohemians – and Southern Light – and so to come back here as a director and with the company is just brilliant.”

Phil Wilkinson’s photos were taken at the recent Amateurs Showcase at the King’s. Details of that evening here: The Musicals are Coming.


Sister Act – The Musical
King’s Theatre, 2 Leven Street EH3 9LQ
Wednesday 18 – Saturday 21 February 2015.
Evenings 7.30pm; Sat mat: 2.30pm.
Booking from:

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