Witness the Power of Music and Sisterhood in Sister Act

June 23, 2024

'Sister Act' is back in West End's Dominion Theatre, spreading infectiously heartwarming energy from its celebration of music, friendship, and self-discovery led by Alexandra Burke, who takes center stage with her incredible vocals and wit as Deloris Van Cartier. Alongside her is Ruth Jones, known for her role in 'Gavin and Stacey,' in her debut role as Mother Superior, who brings her Welsh charm and fun to the role. 

Photo by Johan Persson

Originally a film set in the 1970s Philadelphia, Deloris dreams of making it big on the soul music scene. The turning point is when she witnesses a crime by her husband, leading her to take refuge in a convent. She takes on a new life disguised as Sister Mary Clarence, injecting soul and fun into the nuns' lives. This journey of self-discovery, from a life of crime to a life of faith and music, is brought together by a stellar ensemble cast, including West End veterans Lesley Joseph and Lizzie Bea. Joseph brings a delightful mix of sass and humor to the role of Sister Mary Lazarus. At the same time, Bea shines as Sister Mary Robert, her character arc from a shy novice to a confident vocalist captivating audiences.

Photo by Johan Persson

Legendary Alan Menken does a spectacular job of composing the music, mixing Motown, gospel, and disco music, resulting in infectious tunes like "Take Me to Heaven" and "Fabulous, Baby!". Bill Buckhurst's energetic choreography accompanies and complements Menken's music, turning disco and gospel styles into lively dance numbers. A few unforgettable musical numbers in the production were Jones' performance of "I Haven't Got a Prayer," where her wit and empathy blend seamlessly; Lee Mead as Eddie Souther showcases warmth and charisma in his solo number, "I Could Be That Guy,";  and the over-the-top antics and campy number of "Lady in the Long Dress" by the trio of Curtis' henchmen, played by Bradley Judge, Damian Buhagiar, and Tom Hopcroft. 

Photo by Johan Persson

The set design also did not disappoint and was one of the impressive aspects of the play. Morgan Large's design featured stained-glass windows and a disco ball, completing the 70s glamour vibe. Tim Mitchell's lighting design effectively transports the audience from the gritty streets of Philadelphia to the serene atmosphere of the convent while complementing the colorful design of Large. 

There were a few differences from the film starring Whoopi Goldberg in 1992, but the production was still well-adapted for the theater. You don't have to be religious to enjoy 'Sister Act genuinely.' All you need is an open mind and energy to enjoy this feel-good musical and feel good after watching it.

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