Theatre Review: Sister Act

It is singing nuns and tough gangsters abounds as CHMS bring the classic musical Sister Act to York. We sent to find out how they got on

CHMS presents Sister Act. Photo Credit: Greg Tiani

Does the concept of nuns, disco and gangsters, all in one show, sound appealing? Then the musical Sister Act is the show for you. The musical adaptation of the 1990s comedy hit film of the same name, opened in London in 2009, which was soon followed by a successful Broadway run in 2010. The Central Hall Musical Society’s dynamic production, running 15-17 February at York’s Joseph Rowntree Theatre, is sure to thrill, through their stellar leads, catchy tunes and high-energy choreography.

After the aspiring disco diva Deloris Van Cartier (Ellie Pybus) witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in a convent: the one place where she won’t be found. Disguised as a nun, Deloris struggles to fit in with the rigid lifestyle of the rigid Mother Superior (Rowan Kitchen). She manages to help the convent’s choir find their voices, and unexpectedly discovers new sides of herself. Packed with catchy tunes under the skilled baton of musical director Josh Griffiths, it is a feel-good story of female empowerment, friendship and celebrating the love of music.

Packed with catchy tunes under the skilled baton of musical director Josh Griffiths

The cast, for one, is exceptionally strong. Ellie Pybus as the raunchy Deloris is radiant on stage, with dynamic, soulful vocals and a sincere character arc. Likewise, Rowan Kitchen is pitch perfect as the Mother Superior; the rest of the female cast were equally impressive – including the hilarious Evie Jones as Sister Mary Lazarus, the scene-stealing Jess Field as the jolly Sister Mary Patrick, and Anna Hale, who is an exceptionally powerful belter, as Sister Mary Robert.

CHMS presents Sister Act. Photo Credit: Greg Tiani

Strong vocals were featured from the rest of the cast, too, including the brilliant Mark Ellis as Eddie, who made his character, a formerly bullied police officer, highly likable. Fergus Piper as gang leader Curtis also possesses a good voice and gave a very strong performance; last, but certainly not least, audiences were delighted to enjoy a brief surprise appearance by Johanna Bang (which is the stage name of Stefan Grant).

The entire production boasts a very good sense of comedic timing, and is a great ensemble show.

The entire production boasts a very good sense of comedic timing, and is a great ensemble show. Although the pacing is a little lacking in the first half, it picks up within an hour and is nonetheless enjoyable from start to finish. The show is a real achievement for director Becca Storey; the combined efforts of everyone who’s worked in and for the show are commendable, as a large scale show of this kind is a truly herculean effort. Despite some technical malfunctions, specifically having to do with sound, the show was, overall, very enjoyable. This dynamic, memorable production will leave you singing along to its tunes for weeks to come!  


7/10

Sister Act continues to run until 17th February at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre. For more information, click here.