Association of Community Theatre
Show Reviews November 2017
New Mills & District AO&DS
Director: Rob Brittles
Musical Director: Adam Hutchins
Choreographer: Carolyn Dent
The story is of police witness Deloris Van Cartier inconspicuously hiding in a nunnery from local gangsters. Simple stage settings conveyed the locations and the lighting uplifted each scene. Sound was excellent and the costumes made each character recognisable.
The gangsters and their leader Curtis Jackson (Gary Ward) and other characters gave solid support. This is important as the storyline is thin; it is the music that takes centre stage.
Taking the the role of gangster girlfriend to the Convent is Lt Eddie Souther, known to Deloris as “Sweaty Eddie”. Stewart Bowden didn’t leave any stone unturned and gave a colourful portrayal.
The nuns were, in the main, the ensemble, the sisterhood Deloris never had. Miss Van Cartier breathes new life into the convent, under the suspicious watch of the Mother Superior (Becky Towner Yates).The mix of well-drawn characterisations of the Sisters added to the knock-about fun of the piece. Finding their new voice, thanks to Sister Mary Clarence (Deloris), they save the future of the convent. All their toe tapping music was well handled, and the audience loved it.
The role of Deloris is written for a black performer, making her hiding among white faced nuns more of a nonsensical romp. For this production the role went to a white performer. Did it work? I’m not sure: the jury is still out.
Maria Dunford, as the Philadelphia diva lounge singer, Deloris had the belt voice to carry the soulful, gospel inspired music. Maria took hold of every number and delivered. She also had all the energy needed, moving the fun and games of the plot to a big sing finish.
Sister Act is a company show, bringing ensemble and principals together and resulting in a fast moving musical extravaganza. This group presentation gave life to the action and vivacity to the music, and the audience loved it.