The version of Sister Act currently touring the country is a reworked and redirected one. It is much improved. The Palladium incarnation may have had flashier sets, but director, Jerry Zaks has expertly tightened and trimmed (it needed it) but the infectious Alan Menken score remains at the heart of the show.
The cast is headed by the splendid Cynthia Erivo as the on the run nightclub singer turned convent choir master, Deloris Van Cartier. The revised book, still not wonderful but much improved, better highlights the tensions between Deloris and The Mother Superior (the excellent Denise Black). In a superb cast, there are lovely cameos from Jacqueline Clarke as the salty Sister Mary Lazarus and Michael Starke as the Monsignor.
One of the problems in the West End was that the gangsters were played entirely for laughs but with Cavin Cornwall, there is a definite menace. Newcomer Lucie-Mae Sumner (playing the first week of the Edinburgh run) gives a touching and vocally thrilling performance as novice nun, Mary Robert. As the rather off-the-wall Sister Mary Patrick, Laurie Scarth and Edward Baruwa is in great voice as lovelorn policeman Eddie.
Although the set has been streamlined for the tour, it is still effective. Great lighting, crystal clear sound (not always the case at the Playhouse) and rather fabulous glittery costumes combine to make a classy touring show.
One of the most energetic and talented casts I have seen in a while turns an enjoyable show into an exuberant and enormously entertaining one.