Reviews are in for Sister Act The Musical at the Eventim Apollo in London.
The much hyped and long delayed London revival stars Beverley Knight as the brassy night club singer on-the-run Delores Van Cartier alongside comedy legend Jennifer Saunders as the bristling and disapproving Mother Superior.
The starry cast features American Broadway and The Greatest Showman actress Keala Settle as ‘Sister Mary Patrick’, tv comedy gold Lesley Joseph as ‘Sister Mary Lazarus’, musical theatre pro Clive Rowe as ‘Eddie Souther’ and rising star Lizzie Bea as ‘Sister Mary Robert’.
The show was initially due to star Whoopi Goldberg who was forced to withdraw due to the long delay and scheduling conflicts.
Based on the iconic smash-hit film starring Whoopi Goldberg and featuring music by Tony and 8-time Oscar winner Alan Menken (Disney’s Aladdin, Enchanted), Sister Act is a fabulous comedy musical that mixes uplifting disco, funk, soul and Motown-inspired songs.
The show is directed by Bill Buckhurst, with choreography by Alistair David, set design by Morgan Large, lighting design by Tim Mitchell, sound design by Tom Marshall and musical supervision by Stephen Brooker. Casting is by Stuart Burt.
Book tickets to Sister Act at the Eventim Apollo Theatre (19 July – 28 August 2022).
Read a round-up of review for Sister Act, below.
Sister Act reviews
"Beverley Knight doesn’t quite hit the heavenly heights"
"Knight works tremendously hard as the audience cheers her on, but her acting tends to hit the same note in every scene."
"Jennifer Saunders’s presence as the exasperated, heart-of-gold Mother Superior isn’t enough to fill the gap. ...there simply isn’t enough for her to do."
"Clive Rowe comes to the rescue as Eddie Souther.. Rowe is one of our most assured musical theatre performers"
"Knight’s voice soars again before the end of the evening. Her fan club won’t be complaining, but there’s not quite enough for everyone else."
"Beverley Knight and Jennifer Saunders bring the laughs as rebel nuns"
"Jennifer Saunders is the main draw, bridling and bristling as Mother Superior. There is nothing funnier here than the moment when Saunders, slumped in her chair as she anticipates the latest bout of choral caterwauling, is startled by the sisters’ new-found tunefulness. "
"Despite Beverley Knight’s stupendous vocals, this big-budget musical revival misses intended star Whoopi Goldberg"
" Beverly Knight makes a very respectable replacement for Goldberg: retaining her Arkansas accent from her recent run in ‘The Drifters Girl’, the Queen of UK Soul™ is a musical-theatre veteran these days. If she’s clearly not as funny as Goldberg would have been, she blows pretty virtually everyone else away vocally: she is an extraordinary singer. "
"Nonetheless, it’s a solid production from Bill Buckhurst with some fun set-pieces: in particular, Rowe’s double-quick change in the song ‘I Could Be That Guy’ is truly astounding, while the lurid curtain-call costumes are a migraine-inducing delight (it’s great work all round from costume designer Morgan Large)."
"[Knight] brings vocal heft and requisite presence to the role – though she’s far more engaging when inspiring her cloistered sisters to find their voices while also raising funds to save the church from crumbling than she is in more broadly comic mode."
"Saunders is a natural comic, and though her singing voice is thin, she’s not called upon to use it all that often – together, the two make an appealing double act."
"There is some heavenly ensemble work from the cast. Keala Settle, the best thing in the objectionable The Greatest Showman, deploys her powerful voice and considerable energy to Sister Mary Patrick, while Lesley Joseph revels in her role as the crabby Sister Mary Lazarus. Lizzie Bea, recently seen as Tracy Turnblad at the Coliseum, is requisitely endearing and heartfelt as novice nun Sister Mary Robert."
"Beverley Knight’s star power lifts hodgepodge of a show"
"This musical adaptation has warmth, joyous moments and flashes of wit, but there are multiple compromises beneath the happy-clappy surface glitz"
"Saunders’s dry, acerbic head nun is a useful counterbalance to Knight’s ebullience, even if she’s not used here to best advantage. And Settle, Rowe and Lizzie Bea as doubting young postulant Sister Mary Robert all give stunning vocal performances that transcend the limits of the characters they are given. I know: faint praise."
"Just divine! A habit worth getting in to"
"Playing the night club singer Deloris van Cartier, who hides from the mob in a convent (a part incarnated by Whoopi Goldberg), [Beverley] Knight has swagger and attitude to go with her mega-watt voice as she warbles her way through a gamut of soul, gospel and funk."
"Naturally [Jennifer] Saunders' Mother Superior secures much of the mirth with rueful head shimmies and seasoned timing. When in private comms with The Big Fella Himself, in her divine torch song Haven't Got A Prayer, she cheekily pops out a lady-shave and hip flask – but is surprisingly tender too."
"Beverley Knight is pure heaven with Jennifer Saunders in joyous musical"
"Beverley Knight, Jennifer Saunders and The Greatest Showman star Keala Setttle raise the roof in a joyously fun staging of the classic Whoopi Goldberg film."
"Lighting up the stage with star quality, Knight follows leading roles in The Bodguard and The Drifters Girl with another high-octane confirmation of her West End leading lady status. Not only is that voice goosebumpingly glorious, she has the impressive comedy chops to go toe to toe and wimple to wimple with Saunders."
"At the helm now is Beverley Knight as Deloris and what a fabulous job she does, blasting the heavens with her sensational, soaring voice and lifting the evening with sheer force of personality. Elsewhere, the show is more amiable than amazing, with a few standout musical numbers but a fair few forgettable ones too."
"Beverley Knight, voice like a jumbo jet, plays a Philadelphia nightclub singer, Deloris, who takes sanctuary in a convent after seeing her gangster boyfriend murder one of his comedy hoodlums"
"Not even a Deloris could teach Jennifer Saunders how to sing. The Ab Fab star plays the mother superior and she is her usual comic self, but her two solos are acts of musical torture."