Friday, October 12, 2012

Sister Act: A Divine Musical Comedy

Broadway’s hit musical comedy, Sister Act, is now lighting up the stage in Toronto at Ed Mirvish Theatre. Based on the 1992 film comedy and set in the 70’s, Sister Act follows the story of Deloris Van Cartier (aka Sister Mary Clarence) a sassy, self-righteous lounge singer whose life is in danger after witnessing a crime which forces her into witness protection. Where else to conceal a rule breaking, do-as-you-please diva, but at a convent! 

While disguised as Sister Mary Clarence, Deloris stirs up trouble in the convent, testing the patience of Mother Superior. Her free spirited attitude and larger than life personality is a constant strain as Mother Superior struggles to maintain order and tradition in the convent all while battling Deloris’ unorthodox ways. 

At first, Deloris resists her new identity (and the wardrobe that comes with it), then eventually embraces it after being tasked with mentoring a choir of tone deaf nuns. Much to the displeasure of Mother Superior, she breathes new life into the choir, inspiring the nuns to break free of their customary ways.   While bringing down the steeple with funk, Deloris also discovers the importance of friendship and sisterhood.  

Having enjoyed the film, I walked into the show expecting the same infectious songs, memorable characters and a good laugh. And it delivered! Sister Act had the audience in hysterics (including me). The production really shone during the comedic exchanges between Deloris and the sisters, the dynamic musical ensembles and between the bell-bottomed trio of clumsy thugs out to find Deloris. 

Although I was a wee bit disappointed at first that some of the songs from the film were not in the show, Sister Act the musical brought plenty of its own catchy original tunes. The infectious songs cannot help but make you smile, rejoice and clap along. It will literally make you want to get up off your seat to dance, throw your arms into the air and sing to the heavens. I was secretly hoping that there would be an audience participation component in the show.  

Sister Act serves some flashy numbers (that at times can be borderline over-the-top). I guarantee this will be the only time you will ever see booty shaking nuns wearing bedazzled, sequined habits or a ‘blinged’ out sister laying down some rap. While I found the set and props to be appropriate backdrops to help in telling the story, I did find the huge disco ball-like statue of Mother Mary in the final act to be a bit much.  

If you are expecting an intricate story with depth, you won’t find it here. But, if you are looking for a fun night out and a place to check your worries at the door, Sister Act is just what the Doctor ordered. With a light-hearted and funny, easy to follow storyline, your cheeks will be sore (in a good way!) from laughter and you will leave the theatre feeling uplifted and energized.

Can I get an “Amen” to that sister?

Sister Act runs at the Ed Mirvish Theatre (formerly the Canon Theatre), 244 Victoria Street, Toronto from October 2 – November 4, 2012.

Performance Schedule:
Tuesday-Saturday 8PM
Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday 2PM

Tickets:  $35 to $135
TicketKing:  416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333

Natalia Dziubaniwsky is a lover of life, avid traveller, animal lover, movie buff, hobbyaholic, volunteer and is always seeking a new adventure. Interact with her on Twitter @taliasfootsteps or simply follow her footsteps through her blog.

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