STRICTLY COME DANCING JUDGE
Sister Act - She's the life and soul of the party6th Dec 2016
TELEVISION’S high priest of put-down and bitchy banter Craig Revel Horwood directed and choreographed this high-strutting humdinger of a production and what a fine job he’s made of it.
For without any shadow of a doubt, and as he would say himself, it’s a case of one word, three syllables… fab-u-lous!
The Strictly Come Dancing judge we all love to hate certainly proves he can practise what he so often preaches with this story of the dance queen who witnesses a murder and ends up hidden in a convent under a protective custody order.
But although she’s disguised as a nun, our delectable disco diva finds it impossible to exchange all her bad habits for the drab habit of her new calling.
Back in the 1970s, the Philadelphia sound rubbed shoulders with all the great music coming out of America’s big cities, but was different from other soul sounds because of its closer affinity with southern blues and gospel.
And there’s no one better qualified to take us on this musical journey than the impossibly gifted and talented Joanna Francis as Deloris Van Cartier, who assumes the role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the hit musical and takes it to stratospheric new heights.
She is simply superb, brimming with humour and blessed with a voice that effortlessly skips octaves to take us down to previously unplumbed depths of the human spirit.
As for her fellow nuns, they’re about as musical as the sound of a double-decker bus going over Beachy Head, but it’s not long before this sassy soul sister transforms their tuneless happy-clappy dirges into music drenched in real emotion.
Even Mother Superior (Karen Mann) bends before this unstoppable tide, urged on by fanatical convert Sister Mary Lazarus (Rosemary Ashe) who has seen the light in more ways than one.
Sister Act is a testifying, supplicating mess of soul food that tickles the taste buds right from the first musical note. If you only see one show this Christmas, then make sure this is the one… oh yes indeed, it’s that good.
Worcester News, John Phillpott