Sister Act: The Musical, Grand Opera House, Belfast, January 17th, 2023

By Conor O’Neill

The pandemic put the initial run of this production on hold for two years, but wow, was it worth the wait! A packed Grand Opera House entered the theatre in a buoyant mood and left all the more chipper. Why? Because from start to finish it’s a sheer class act, pun intended.

For those who have somehow missed the 1992 film the plot line goes something like this: Philadelphia club singer, Deloris Van Cartier (Sandra Marvin) witnesses a murder carried out by club owner Curtis Jackson (Jeremy Secomb). after reporting the crime to the cops, she’s put into a witness protection scheme by policeman Eddie Souther, AKA Steady Eddie (Graham McDuff), an unassuming type who’s the polar opposite of the gangster behind the crime.

Off the mean streets of Philly and hid well away in a convent, Deloris is now under the protection of Mother Superior (Lesley Joseph). Here she meets her new family of sisters as the cops try to build a case against Jackson. And this is where the fun begins.

Club singer turned convent dweller, Deloris is never going to fit in but there’s one thing the sisters share, music. Trouble is the choir is terrible. Not even Saint Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, could save this lot from making a hellish racket. But maybe Deloris can. But not all are so welcoming, Mother Superior is none to happy with Deloris’ ways. “How can that be conspicuous? A fifteen foot neon light would less conspicuous!” she rants.

Despite the fairly basic plotline, Sister Act is such a great night out for many reasons, but the main reason is its soundtrack. Under the tutelage of musical director, Neil McDonald, the eight piece band in the pit deliver track after track of sometimes soulful funk, other times sorrowful ballads, one thing that’s guaranteed is any audience member with a pulse will need tied to their chair to stop them gyrating their hips.

From the Deloris’ opener Fabulous Baby to Sister Mary Robert’s The Life I Never Led the audience lap up every perfectly delivered tune.

Apart from Deloris and Mother Superior, the two cast member that really stand out are Sister Mary Roberts and Eddie Souther. Watching these two characters metamorphoses is delightful. Sister Mary Robert’s learns from Deloris her true calling, while Steady Eddie development is as amusing as it is life affirming. That’s not to undermine the rest of the casts performances. The programme is littered with Olvier, Gloden Globe and Tony winners, nominations and other every other award handed out to the star-studded cast and creatives.

Director, Bill Buckhurst and choreographer, Alistair David have the cast and ensemble moving in perfect unison.

Will Deloris keep her cover, will Curtis Jackson (pictured above) get his comeuppance, and will Mother Superior finally warm to Deloris? Only one way to find out. Get booking your tickets now.

A fabulous show from start to finish.

Sister Act: The Musical runs at the grand Opera House up to and including Saturday 28th of January, 2023.

For booking information visit http://www.goh.co.uk or simply phone the box office on 2890 241919.

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ENDS

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