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Sister Act review at Curve, Leicester – ‘wild and wonderful’

Alexandra Burke in Sister Act Alexandra Burke in Sister Act. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Alexandra Burke was born to play the disco diva, Deloris Van Cartier, and excels in the role in this brand new production, opening at Curve at the start of a year-long national tour. It’s a whirlwind performance, big, bold and sassy, and the richness and range of her voice is matched by a deliciously dry delivery and comic timing.

The show brims with feelgood factor. There’s a surreal, lunatic element to it that comes from the inspired notion to have almost every actor play instruments live on stage, including several of the principals. So the ebullient Sister Mary Patrick (Susannah van den Berg), plays the accordion in the caterwauling choir and later doubles as a down-and-out, legs in the air and playing the clarinet. Cops play the violin in the gallery, the dour priest-turned-evangelist picks up a sax, and even the irascible mother superior (Karen Mann) turns out to be a trumpet player.

There are notable performances all round in a stellar cast. Rosemary Ashe is the feisty Sister Mary Lazarus and Sarah Goggin wins hearts as the emboldened postulant, Sister Mary Robert, who finds her voice in The Life I Never Led. Jon Robyns as the shy Eddie finds his in I Could Be That Guy. Aaron Lee Lambert encapsulates every excess of the 1970s as Curtis, the villain. Simply staged and powerfully lit, this a show stuffed with big, exultant numbers like Take Me To Heaven. It makes for a storming finale and wins a standing ovation.

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