SISTER Act, the musical show based on the Whoopi Goldberg film, depends on a STUPENDOUS central performance … and that’s what it gets from Natasha Green at Street.
It’s a feel-good story, and even if you aren’t a fan of 70s disco soul and gospel, the G&SMCS company do it with such energy that their enjoyment seeps out into the auditorium.
It seems almost churlish to point out that the sound balance on the opening night was dreadful. Microphones did not do their job and the band, especially the percussion, was often drowningly loud.
The performers didn’t let it hold them back (perhaps, with luck, they didn’t know it was happening) and put on a show that was full of fun and movement, emphasised by rare moments of stillness and poignancy.
Choreographer Sarah Neale did a tremendous job with a very talented and uninhibited chorus – what fun to be able to do all those daft moves in public!
The story is of Deloris, an aspiring nightclub singer who sees her married lover shoot a member of his gang, and is scooped up by a policeman (and former school suitor) to hide in Witness Protection in a convent. There our heroine meets her nemesis in the form of the strict mother superior, in a beautifully judged but oddly English sounding performance by Karen Squance.
There’s Brian Epps Oirishly keeping his eye more firmly on the coffers than the alter, and Deloris taking the tuneless and lifeless convent choir and turning them into the Philly hit – even performing for the Holy Father.
Outstanding in the excellent and large cast are Paul Dyke as PC Eddie, Mark Wall as the sleazy gangster, Jess Michelmore as the postulant Sr Mary Robert and Charlie Wood as Sr Mary Patrick.
Of course there is a happy ending. The baddies get their come-uppance and our Deloris, by now known as Sr Mary Clarence, realises the advantages of loving a policeman and being part of a Sister Act. Natasha Green’s charisma and belting vocals make her denouement all the more touching, and she does it beautifully.
Once they get the sound balance sorted and a few other technical glitches sorted out, there will be no doubt this show is in the five-star bracket.
It’s on until Saturday. See it if you can.