Praise the Lord! KLODS have done it again with the divinely-inspired Sister Act, which began at the Guildhall on Wednesday night.
The musical is based on the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg film of blessed memory, but deviates significantly from the movie in order to shoehorn some different 14 songs.
Deloris Van Cartier (Laura-Jane Shippey) is a night-club singer back in 1977 who sees her gangster boyfriend Curtis (James Cook) commit murder.
She flees to the police where detective Eddie (Steve Yates) puts her in protective custody in a convent which is on the edge of closure.
The Mother Superior (Louise Smith) is far from convinced that the exuberant is an asset to the cloisters.
But the off-key choir, including novice Sister Mary Robert (Bryony Ding), the ever smiling Mary Patrick (Sarah-Jane Brennock) and the cynical Sister Mary Lazarus (Lorraine Carver), find that the Lord works in mysterious ways and grow to love the in-comer as she literally teaches them to Raise Your Voice and Take Me to Heaven (as two of the numbers are called).
Meanwhile Curtis and his comedy gang of nephew TJ (Joshua Elms), Joey (Ross Woodhouse) and Pablo (Adam Tucker) are busy tracking down the missing Deloris – a task considerably helped by her quest for fame even in a convent.
It all ends in shots in the night and nuns on the run. But this is a feelgood production – so hallelujah, everything turns out well!
The quality of the performances was really stunning. Laura-Jane Shippey is superb as Deloris and did not put a note wrong all night in a demanding role.
Louise Smith again shows her comedy talent and is a perfect foil.
Bryony Ding showed real acting depth as the conflicted Sister Mary Robert while Sara-Jane Brennock was just a delight.
But close to stealing the show were the Curtis and the his gang of baddies with Joshua Elms and, in particular, Ross Woodhouse, just great.
The costumes were wonderful and the six-piece band brilliant. Well done!
Sister Act has very clever lyrics by Glenn Slater well displayed particularly in some of the male songs, When I Find My Baby (an anti-love song if ever there was one), I Could Be That Guy (Eddie’s moving declaration of secret love for Deloris) and the disco-inspired Lady In The Long Black Dress (when Joey, pablo and TJ pay tribute to the Floaters).
The music is by Alan Menken, multiple Oscar winner for many Disney films. Which you either love or, like me, find a little samey.
But that small caveat apart, a great night. Sister Act continues tonight and tomorrow at King’s Lynn Arts Centre, 7.30pm.