The hit musical, Sister Act, returns to Manchester this week by popular demand, with X-Factor star Alexandra Burke reprising her role as the nun on the run.
The plot is largely the same as the film, made famous by Whoopi Goldberg and Maggie Smith – a night club singer witnesses a murder and is forced to flee and seek refuge in a convent where she ends up attempting to whip a tortuously inept choir into shape.
With the injection of some new songs, dance routines choreographed by Craig Revell Horwood, this should be a recipe for a top notch show.
Maybe the half hour delay due to a technical problem, affected the performers, because I couldn’t help feeling there was something missing in the first half. All the ingredients seemed to be there but they didn’t quite gel. The start was a bit flat, and some of the jokes didn’t quite work – especially in the interplay between the three gangster characters.
That said, the show certainly picked up after the interval when the energy levels were ramped up; and there is still much to praise in this production. Alexandra Burke is a class act, showing her aptitude for comic acting as well as an undeniable ability to belt out a tune.
The solos where superb, particularly from Karen Mann as the mother superior and John Robyns’ lovelorn cop “sweaty Eddie”.
So a mixed bag, but there no problems that can’t be ironed out in subsequent performances.
Bill Kenwright’s revival of the Lloyd-Webber and Rice classic is a truly visually stunning spectacle and the impact of those timeless songs is certainly helped by an amazing set featuring imposing carved pillars and a huge crown of thorns.
Glenn Carter looked comfortable in the role of Jesus, as indeed he should – having played the part on stage and screen for many years.
Tim Rogers seemed to be struggling vocally at times when trying to deliver those all-important songs from the emotionally tortured Judas. However, he did recover after the interval for his big number.
The biggest disappointment for many fans was the absence of X Factor finalist Rhydian Roberts, due to play Pontius Pilate, but understudy, Jonathan Tweedie did great job standing in for .
Other performances worthy of note were fellow X Factor star Rachel Adedeji, as Mary Magdelene, and the wonderful Cavin Cornwall as Caiaphas.
And Manchester lad Tom Gilling also impressed delivering the the show-stopping King Herod song
Wythenshawe will get into the festive spirit tomorrow when X-Factor Star, Amelia Lily appears as the special guest for the town’s Christmas lights switch-on.
Amelia, who finished third in the 2011 TV talent show will be performing alongside pop group Ever Young in the festive extravaganza.
The lights switch-on event will take place in Wythenshawe town centre on Saturday (Nov 15) with. The festivities start at 3.30pm on Imagine FM stage with Goodnight April, Matt Fitzgerald, Mr Zip and Stephen Hall.
Amelia Lily’s is expected to be a big hit with the Wythenshawe crowds. Her debut single You bring me joy got to number two in the charts.