Review: Sister Act at the Bristol Hippodrome

Posted on Aug 8 2017 - 7:15pm by Claire Herbaux

Alexandra Burke is not just the star of the show, she is the show.

This being the second time I have seen her as Deloris Van Cartier, I can say with certainty, this musical is like nothing Alexandra Burke has done before. It is beyond anything she sings solo.

The show really starts when you hear her first notes and she carries it through to the encore.

The X Factor winner is of course helped by some fantastic comedy and acting and impressive choir numbers.

Should you have somehow missed what the story of Sister Act is about, we follow Deloris Van Cartier as she tries to make it as a singer in 1977 Philadelphia, but ends up witnessing a murder and has to hide in a convent until she can testify against the murderer, Curtis.

Being anything like a nun, she is being tasked with getting the choir into shape. While funny, their initial hymns may hurt your ears.

Even though she does not impress Mother Superior, brilliantly played by Karen Mann, she does turn the choir around, brings shy Sister Mary Robert (Sarah Goggin) out of her shell, and even gets people to attend the service again, when the church was on the verge of closing.

The show is bound to make you laugh: Curtis’ men are funny, Sweaty Eddie, the police officer who has had a crush on Deloris since High School is irresistible, and you cannot help but love the over the top nuns, each in their weird, loud, and mostly off-key way.

Still, within all the comedy, Burke always brings it back to music with her unique voice. The way the music – and the instruments – were carefully woven into the choreography was one of my favourite parts of the show. Seeing the homeless people lying in the street, playing the flute or accordion, and nuns appear in the background of the church building to play the trumpet, brought a sense of togetherness to the show. Too often are musicians hidden below or in front of the stage. Here everyone had a place and a role to play, almost like in a sisterhood of nuns.

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