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Sister Act (Tour - Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Sister Act had a faithful following in the West End but did not last as long as many would have liked. The show was vibrant, funny, light and frothy but some scenes did need cutting and the odd song was a tad weak.

On tour, many of these areas have been ironed out and the result is much sleeker show which leaves you with a huge smile on your face. The plot is as thin and daft as it always was. Night club singer Deloris Van Cartier (Cynthia Erivo) is on run from the mafia and hides out in a San Francisco church and poses as a nun, to avoid ending up on the slab. Enter Denise Black as Mother Superior who attempts to teach the diva how to tone things down and appreciate the Lord, as opposed to worshipping Donna Summer.

The result is a zany, silly and loveable romp with catchy musical numbers such as "Fabulous, Baby!" and "Raise Your Voice" all delivered with passion, energy and a sense of knowing fun by a brilliant cast. Erivo owns the stage and is simply heavenly as the new nun on the run. Black conveys frustration and faith and has a real knack for comedy. Michael Starke is also very funny in the tiny role of Monsignor OHara.

Julie Atherton shines like a beacon as Sister Mary Robert, the nun who is unaware she can belt out a tune. Eddie Baruwas' Eddie is loyal, sweet and has an inner Tony Manero. The ensemble are also excellent with Hannah Levane standing out in a talented pack, as she dances like her life depends on it.

Sister Act remains slightly overlong but it is an appealing musical with lashings of camp appeal, cheese and a real sense of fun. Erivo and her sisters (and brothers) are all divine and on the night I attended the audience rose to their feet and raised their voices in approval.

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