Sister Act the musical at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff – review

Cardiff theatre
Sister Act The Musical Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff

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Thank you to Wales Millennium Centre for providing us with review tickets for Sister Act the musical

Sister Act is in Cardiff for the week and it’s two and a half hours of glorious escapism. The production is laugh out loud funny, heartwarming, uplifting, and absolutely worth buying a last-minute ticket, if you’re not already going. With an age guidance of 8+, it’s a great family treat for older children too.

Based on the much-loved 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg, Sister Act the musical moves the action from early 1990s Nevada to late 1970s Philadelphia where disco diva Deloris Van Cartier witnesses her married boyfriend commit a murder. Placed under police protection she finds herself hiding out as a nun in a convent, struggling to adapt to their modest life. Until, that is, the Mother Superior asks Deloris (or Sister Mary Clarence, as she is known to the nuns) to help with the struggling choir. As she helps the sisters find their voice, she also discovers a few truths of her own.

The multi award-winning show has been packing out theatres on both sides of the Atlantic since it opened on Broadway in 2006 and the West End in 2009. It’s been to Cardiff several times over the years (I’ve seen it at least twice), including a sell-out run this time last year so it’s testament to its appeal that it’s back already and playing to a packed auditorium.

My 13 year old daughter accompanied me to Tuesday’s press performance – her first time seeing the stage show (although she’s watched the film and its sequel) – and she loved it. We both did.

This isn’t just a carbon copy of the film though. The story is broadly the same, but the music isn’t. Gone are the 1960s pop favourites with their cleverly rewritten lyrics in favour of an original soundtrack of soulful disco numbers, by the legendary Alan Menken, the man behind Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Enchanted and lots more.

Landi Oshinowo is Deloris, looking fabulous in purple sequins and with breathtaking vocals on such musical numbers as Take Me To Heaven and Fabulous, Baby!

Sister Act The Musical Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff

Lesley Joseph – best known to many of us as Dorien from Birds of a Feather – delivers some brilliant deadpan one-liners as Mother Superior, not to mention strong and emotive vocals in her solo I Haven’t Got A Prayer. She’s a brilliant performer, especially when you consider she’s 78, and even more so knowing she’ll be back in Cardiff in just a few weeks, performing in Jac and the Beanstalk at the New Theatre.

Lizzie Bea delights as fledgling nun, Sister Mary Robert, showing us the full range of her vocals in The Life I Never Had. Those high notes… wow!

Sister Act The Musical Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff
Sister Act The Musical Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff review

Alfie Parker is a real unexpected highlight as comedic police chief ‘Steady Eddie’, in particular the brilliant I Could Be That Guy, with its glitzy costumes and choreography. Mobster sidekicks TJ, Joey and Pablo (Bradley Judge, Damian Buhagiar and Callum Martin) really bring in the laughs in Lady In The Long Black Dress, while the nuns (the aforementioned Lizze Bea, Isabel Canning, Julie Stark, Lori Haley Fox and Wendy-Lee Purdy) show the real meaning of sisterhood, in between their musical numbers.

The curtain call was so joyfully sparkly, with multi-coloured lighting transforming the previously understated staging, ending a wonderfully entertaining night on a real high.

Sister Act the musical is at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff until Saturday 18 November Tickets from £18, limited availability. Age guidance, 8+.

See the Wales Millennium Centre website for more information.

Other family shows coming up at Wales Millennium Centre include Shrek The Musical, Disney’s Aladdin, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, and Peter Pan Goes Wrong.

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