Sister Act has settled in to the Sunderland Empire for a couple of weeks while on an extensive tour, following a long run at the London Palladium. But to be honest the tour has much more drive than when I saw the London original and despite the required scenery changes for the tour, there is nothing to detract from this large scale musical.
The story is similar to the original film, but has a specially written score with songs inspired by Motown. In the plot we follow the exploits of Deloris Van Cartier (Cynthia Erivo) who witnesses a murder and to ensure her safety she is placed in protective custody in a convent. But while disguised as a nun she always at loggerheads with the convent’s strict Mother Superior (Denise Black) as she cannot control her personality and live as a nun. However Delores transforms the convent’s choir and becomes firm friends with her new sisters, enabling the gangland members who are after her to more than meet their match when they come face to face with the nuns.
While the musical numbers fit well in to the story but are instantly forgettable.
The one down side is the totally under used Michael Starke, who recently blasted his way through Hairspray as Edna and is one of todays leading man of musical theatre. His casting as Monsignor O’Hara leaves him little to do and he is too rarely on stage. A fact he even mentioned at the curtain call, when explaining about a charity collection by the cast.
But overall this is the feel good family musical that hits you right between the eyes and a few hours of “nunsense” never did anyone any harm.