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‘Sister Act’: Singapore Gets Some Sister Sass on Stage

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Check out our theatre reviewer’s take on the hottest new ticket in town, Sister Act, to see if it lives up to the Broadway hype!

Sister Act, an award-winning Broadway musical, has hit Singapore in glorious technicolour. When something this big comes to town it’s hard not to know about it; posters and banners don billboards and street signs and the fanfare has, understandably, got everyone talking!

Undoubtedly many Sassy Mamas will have seen the 1992 hit film starring the enigmatic Whoopi Goldberg, and so the plot line of the theatrical adaptation needs little explaining. It’s good old-fashioned fun: a slapstick, NUN-on-the-RUN musical comedy, with lots of sass and wit!

The show follows the tale of wannabe disco diva Deloris Van Cartier, whose life takes a serious turn when she witnesses her gangster boyfriend, Curtis Jackson, commit a murder. She’s rushed undercover by the police, headed by a cop, Sweaty Eddie, who happens to have had a crush on her in college, and it’s decided the best place for her is in a convent!

As one would expect, donning a habit isn’t what Deloris is used to and she looks set to get in as much trouble with the Mother Superior inside the convent walls as she might do from the mobsters on the outside! But this is a story of warmth and love, good conquering evil, and the mighty power of disco. And it’s the latter that unites them all and saves the day!

The promotional material has made much of the show’s connections with Broadway, the multitude of Tony Awards, the Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken (known for Beauty and the BeastThe Little Mermaid), and the songs’ lyrics by Menken’s frequent collaborator Glen Slater. The Whoopi Goldberg connection also helps add class and credibility to the big push. The words “direct from” – be it New York or Broadway – have been liberally spread about.

However, at the start of the show as Deloris sings “I’m fabulous” it’s all rather hard to believe. It may be that this cast is direct from New York the city perhaps, but not the Broadway stage show, surely? Maybe they’ve seen the show there so it’s just a little fudge on the marketing front? Yet, given the storyline makes much of doing the right thing and, with all the Catholic references confession plays a major part, perhaps the show’s producers have a little one of their own to fess up to?

That said, it’s clear everyone is working hard to recreate the glitz and glamour of the real thing. The sets are big and the costumes are full of sparkle, but the standard of a Broadway stage is, by its very nature, in a class of its own. Much like Delores discovers as she tries to pull off being a nun, it takes more than just dressing up as one to convincingly be one. As the story goes, eventually you get rumbled!

But, if you’re a Sassy Mama looking for a fun night out at the theatre, sit back and enjoy what the cast delivers. Dene Hill as Deloris plays her part with guts and gets into her stride when she’s seizes the opportunity to transform the nuns’ traditional choir into a disco dancing diva sensation. Rebecca Mason-Wygal gives a heart-warming performance as the Mother Superior, and Sophie Kim is a crowd pleaser as the shy and innocent Mary Robert who finds her voice.

On opening night, the crowd was in good spirits. Despite some difficulties with the sound at the start, by the end of the evening many were on their feet, dancing to the disco beat and applauding loudly. Whilst this may not be Broadway, it’s hard not to smile at a stage of nuns dancing in glittering habits, cheer as the baddies get what’s due, and feel warm inside as the nice guy gets the girl! And as the words “Spread the Love Around” ring out in the closing number, it’s clear there’s lots of it about to shower down on Singapore’s Sister Act!

Let’s all rejoice! Amen!

All the Details!
When: Now through 28 May, 2017; Tue-Fri: 7:30pm; Sat: 2pm and 7:30pm; Sun: 1pm and 6pm
Where: Grand Theatre, MasterCard Theatres at Marina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956
How Much: $65 and up (with special discounts for students, seniors and NSFs). Purchase tickets through Sistic!

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