March 6, 2017, by Words on Words

“One terrific Sister Act!”: A Review of Sister Act at Nottingham Theatre Royal

…and why every UoN student should visit Nottingham’s theatres.

This blog post was written by second year English student, Josie Severn.

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of watching Sister Act the musical at Nottingham Theatre Royal and it got me thinking: not enough students take advantage of the great theatres we have here in Nottingham. Visiting them before you graduate is a must. The Theatre Royal plays host to a variety of plays, ballets, musicals straight from London’s West End, and much more. Next door you’ll find the Royal Concert hall, purpose built for better sound quality and here you’ll find concerts, more musicals and comedy. Tickets are usually cheaper Mondays to Thursdays and you can even save money by becoming a member, so there’s no excuse. The Nottingham Playhouse also put on a good show and you’ll be pleased to know they offer a discount for students at around 10%. Keep a look out – they often show performances based on texts you’ll be studying here at Nottingham. In fact, Paradise Lost will be showing on 10th March. First years and Literature and Popular Culture students, this one’s for you!

“I pray and I pray ‘til you sweep me away”

As the song above from Sister Act suggests, this is exactly what happened as I was watching the show unfold onstage. Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel Horwood has turned Joseph Howard’s film in to a heavenly musical of sisterhood, friendship and a celebration of all things Motown, soul and disco, topped off with his signature Strictly-style moves even he would have given a score of 10. This was a performance everyone could enjoy with the right mix of laughter and emotion. It did what every good musical should: leave you singing the songs for weeks after and even contemplating downloading the soundtrack to listen to on the bus.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the plot, Sister Act follows the story of club singer Deloris Van Cartier who witnesses her boyfriend Curtis murder one of his friends and is then forced to hide in a convent for her own safety. Deloris doesn’t take too well to this lifestyle but begins to enjoy herself when she decides to do what she does best: sing and improve the convent’s choir.

The performance I attended was meant to star past X Factor winner Alexandra Burke as Deloris, but due to injury the part was played by Joanna Francis. This was a blessing in disguise as Francis is a true leading lady and I was left in awe of her vocals. Joe Vetch made a hilarious Eddie and Karen Mann was a convincing strict mother superior.

The part I found most impressive was that the cast played their instruments while performing on stage, blending the orchestra and cast together. This technique is something I’ve never seen before, even as an avid theatregoer, and it made the show truly special. Or in the words of Deloris, “simply too divine”.

All that is left to say is that I hope my review of Sister Act has inspired you to visit one of Nottingham’s many theatres while you’re studying. The musical itself is currently touring the UK, so if you’re quick you can catch it in a nearby city and tickets are still available on the Sister Act UK tour website.

And Hallelujah!

Josie Severn

Posted in Student Words