Sister Act

Oct 3 2023 | By More

★★★★★    Joyful

Festival Theatre: Mon 2 – Sat 7 Oct 2023
Review by Torya Hughes

For an evening of laugh out loud entertainment which will send you home singing, look no further than the UK tour of Sister Act, playing all week at the Festival Theatre and returning to the Glasgow King’s in May 2024.

The whole musical exudes joy, from the top of its sequinned costumes to the bottom of its disco beats; with many hilarious characterisations from an immensely talented cast, in between.

Landi Oshinowo as Deloris Van Cartier. Pic: Mark Senior.

Originally starring Whoopi Goldberg in the 1992 film, Sister Act follows singer Deloris Van Cartier (Landi Oshinowo) who witnesses her gangster boyfriend (Ian Gareth-Jones) committing a murder. Fearing for her life, she goes to her policeman friend Eddie (Alfie Parker) for help, and soon finds herself hiding out in a convent as a very unwilling nun.

After an incident where she absconds to the pub and leads her sisters astray, the Mother Superior (Lesley Joseph) puts her in charge of the choir and gives her a whole new purpose. It’s a tale of transformation and personal growth, with almost all of the characters experiencing an epiphany of their own.

irrepressible energy

The role of Deloris is a huge one, and Landi Oshinowo more than rises to the challenge. She has a powerful voice and an irrepressible energy, with a particular highlight being Raise Your Voice as she teaches the nuns how to really sing.

Lesley Joseph’s impeccable timing and very dry sense of humour make the severe Mother Superior incredibly funny. Her solo, I Haven’t Got A Prayer, is both beautifully performed and directed to maximum comic effect. Lizzie Bea also impresses as timid Sister Mary Robert who learns to find her voice.

Lelsey Joseph as Mother Superior, Landi Oshinowo as Deloris Van Cartier and Company. Pic: Mark Senior.

The rest of the nuns constantly threaten to upstage each other, whether it’s fighting gangsters in a hilarious scene of choreographed chaos, or vying to impress in the choir. Behind the habits, the characterisations create strong individuals, from Isabel Canning’s exuberant Sister Mary Patrick to Julie Stark’s stern Sister Mary Lazarus who swaps self-flagellation for rapping.

moment to shine

Alfie Parker is very likeable as lovelorn cop Eddie, and manages to fit two mid-song costume changes into his solo I Could Be That Guy.

The three gangsters, Callum Martin, Damian Buhagiar and Bradley Judge – as Joey, Pablo and TJ – have a moment to shine with Lady in the Long Black Dress, showing off both their dance abilities and vocal harmonies reminiscent of the Bee Gees.

Alfie Parker as Eddie Souther and Company. Pic: Mark Senior

This is a musical full of big numbers, and the sound from the eight piece orchestra is fittingly large. Alan Menken’s score ranges from disco to gospel and soul, and the choreography echoes this. The energy never drops, even when the pace slows in the second half, meaning that the two and a half hours running time flies by.

Special mention has to go to Morgan Large’s expansive set and fabulous costumes. The stage is framed by a stained glass arch which takes the setting from austere to extravagant with the help of a glitter ball and some colourful lighting.

excellent moustaches

Clever use of furniture and props suggests an office, a flat and various street scenes to good effect. The costumes and wigs create the 1970s feel perfectly, with platform boots, flares and some excellent moustaches.

Sister Act bills itself as “a divine musical comedy” and it certainly delivers on all fronts. The religious elements gently poke fun without causing offence, the humour is all pervasive, and the infectious joy evident onstage spreads out into the auditorium.

This is a feel-good production which can’t help but put a smile on your face.

Running time: Two hours and 30 minutes (including one interval).
Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9FT
Monday 2 -Saturday 7 October 2023
Evenings: 7.30pm; matinees Thurs, Sat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

Glasgow King’s Theatre, 297 Bath St, Glasgow G2 4JN
Monday 29 April – Saturday 4 May 2024
Evening: 7.30pm; Wed, Sat: 2.30pm.
Tickets and details: Book here.

Ian Gareth-Jones as Curtis Jackson and Company. Pic: Mark Senior


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Comments (2)

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  1. Simon Watson says:

    This was a night of fantastic entertainment from a brilliant cast with superbly concieved staging and costuming, and an orchestra that really knows how to pack a punch, while beautifully underscoring the more tender numbers throughout the show. Altogether, one of the best nights of theatre I have ever enjoyed! Congrats to all involved, and thanks for bringing your sheer exuberance and joy to every single moment of the show. Loved it!

  2. Sickchik says:

    The show was good & costumes were amazing, but disappointed they didn’t sing any songs from the film, didn’t know any of the songs, I thought maybe at the end they would have sang one of them.