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Review: Sister Act A Divine Musical Comedy, WMC Cardiff

Landi Oshinowo 'Deloris Van Cartier' and Company. Photo: Mark Senior

The iconic movie inspires this stage hit which will raise the spirits and warm the soul. It’s in Cardiff for a week only at the Wales Millenium Centre and the story opens in Philadelphia on a cold Christmas eve night.

Deviating slightly from the movie, the musical is set in the late 1970’s and includes original numbers inspired by Motown, soul and disco, written by Tony and Oscar award winner Alan Menken (Disney’s Aladdin, Enchanted).

Landi Oshinowo ‘Deloris Van Cartier’. Photo: Mark Senior

Disco diva Deloris, played by West-end star Landi Oshinowo (Shrek The Musical, Matilda The Musical), witnesses a murder. Her life takes a surprising turn when she’s placed in protective custody and is hidden in the one place she shouldn’t be found – a convent!

Donning a habit, Deloris reluctantly disguises herself as a nun. Under the suspicious watch of Mother Superior, Deloris finds herself a place in the choir. She helps her fellow sisters to find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers herself.

Lesley Joseph ‘Mother Superior’. Photo: Mark Senior

Lesley Joseph (Birds of a Feather, Night and Day, Annie, Young Frankenstein, Calendar Girls and Hot Flush!.) plays a convincing mother superior. Her solo performances bring some variety to the upbeat disco numbers of the rest of the show.

Sister Mary Robert, played by the outstanding Lizzie Bea (Heathers The Musical, Hairspray, A Christmas Carol and the UK Tour of Kinky Boots), leads the choir with Deloris in a series of belting numbers.

Alfie Parker ‘Eddie Souther’ and Company. Photo: Mark Senior

The comedic cop, Eddie Souther is played by Alfie Parker (School of Rock, the UK tours of Kinky Boots, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). Gangster and quick talking schemer Curtis Jackson, is played by Ian Gareth-Jones (Only Fools and Horses The Musical, Mary Poppins, Mrs Henderson Presents, Billy Elliot, and the UK tours of Mamma Mia, Chicago and Thoroughly Modern Millie).

The cast are also joined by Isabel Canning, Jackie Pulford, Phillip Arran, Lori Hayley Fox, Wendy-Lee Purdy, Bradley Judge, Damian Buhagiar, Callum Martin, Castell Parker, Esme Laudat, Amber Kennedy, Joseph Connor, Ceris Hine, Eloise Runnette, Sheri Lineham and Michael Ward.

Sister Act Company. Photo: Mark Senior

We were disappointed not to hear some of the hits from the film. We felt that Deloris’s transformation of the choir from ‘strangled’ Sisters of Perpetual Sorrow to a harmonious sisterhood was too swift and some of the numbers a bit long. But this show is dominated by talented performers and is definitely a visual spectacle.

The vocal range of Landi Oshinowo and Lizzie Bea are goosebump inducingly impressive. Wimples whip around the stage with choreography that makes the story come to life, and the first half comes complete with a high-speed chase.

 The set was beautifully designed with seamless transitions and the lighting added to the atmosphere. The stunning stained glass window dominates the stage and adds to the celestial setting. The costumes (and habits) were bang on 70’s fashion trends and glitz and glamour of the finale was nothing short of spectacular.

A fun evening, with plenty of beats to clap along to and a picture perfect finale.

Sister Act A Divine Musical Comedy is at the Wales Millennium Centre until Saturday, November 18. You can find more information and tickets availability here.