I’m not usually in the habit of writing reviews, but after escaping baby duty and enjoying a wonderful night out at the theatre, I just had to share how amazingly wonderful Warrington based theatre group, Centenary’s latest production of Sister Act was.
Wow those sisters can act!
My actual sister, Kelly Herridge was one of the amazing actors and it was lovely to see her in another lead role and shining brightly. Her last role as the lead in South Pactific had me crying throughout most of the show (I was 8 months pregnant – say no more) The baby loved it too and moved none stop; she loves her Rhythm Time Classes so i think we could have a future singer on our hands.
For those who are new to my blog… my sister is the bad influence who has helped to inspire The Little Book of Sick … if you think she is all angelic… have a read of our past antics… Sister Mary Bad Influence.
Anyway, back to the show. We left the baby with the mother-in-law and enjoyed a night of adult entertainment. (The baby cried for hours, but wasn’t sick so all in all not too bad – and we weren’t there for bedtime so even better.)
Sister Act is an all round fun musical. It was a refreshing change to see the girls taking the majority share of the lead roles. So many musicals are still so heavily male dominated that often talented young ladies don’t get the chance to shine.
And wow did they shine.
Sharon Amesu as Dolores stole the show and shone even brighter than her sparkly platform boots. Such an authentic and heartfelt performance that had the audience laughing one minute and close to tears the next.
Seeing Centenary’s first lady Anita Warburton ‘getting down’ and rapping was a highlight. Oh Mother Superior it’s good to see that you are down wiv da kidz.
However, witnessing a nun moon walking across stage will go down as one of my all time favourite moments in theatrical history! Danielle Segar your face alone should win an oscar!
Kelly Herridge and Julia Hart’s comedy antics actually made me believe that It’s Good to be a Nun. From rapping to rafter hitting high notes, these two seasoned favourites had the audience in stitches and guessing at what their next comedy move would be. Fabulous singing and acting from two very talented actors but more importantly they were very much a part of the collective team of nuns and no ‘lime light stealing’ was apparent. Each nun was just as important as the next.
Another show stealer was Beth Mcintosh in her role as the young, naive nun, Sister Mary Robert. Looking almost identical to the actor from the film and note perfect (even on the high bits) it was easy to forget that this was a supposed amateur performance.
Professional on every level in my eyes. The dancing spot lights were so well timed that they were almost an extra character in the show. The set took us on a journey from 70s disco dives to The Last Supper with all the amazing convent locations in between. The score was upbeat and all the songs were instant hits. Played by the wonderful orchestra who seamlessly blended 70s disco with the traditional orchestral sound. The ultimate stars of the show were the costumes; they dazzled and every attention to detail down to sparkly crosses on the nun’s PJs made it an all round professional piece of musical theatre. Bravo.
Yes, this show was a great one for the girls; with some hilarious sketch parts, but not forgetting the boys – less in number than the girls but not in talent! Hilarity, fun and disaster ensued every time Sweaty Eddie, Curtis and his cronies burst onto stage.
It was great to see Seb Farrell back with Centenary and the role of Eddie was practically written for him. His comic timing and natural charisma made this character loved and pitied in equal measure.
Kenneth McConaghy pulled off the bad guy perfectly without turning it into pantomime villain. His natural stage presence and powerful voice brought the nemesis to life and someone to give Sweaty Eddie a run for his money. And that red suit… such a perfect bad guy colour in contrast to the black and white… bravo Marj and the costume department!
The other boys had us doubled over with their array of facial hair, dodgy accents and interesting take on How to get close to a Nun. Again, the team work was obvious and they bounced off each other (sometimes literally) the rapport made their performances all the better.
So there we have it… Sister Act the musical. On paper it might not work. Yes, there are songs in the film but it wasn’t a true musical. (Whoopi Goldberg didn’t burst into song as she was cleaning her teeth did she?) But it did work. It was funny, cheesey, fun and sincere all at the same time. And it had quite possibly the best (and campest) finale I have ever seen. Even ‘Keep it Gay’ in The Producers wasn’t that glitzy!
So bravo… I am just gutted that I wasn’t up there with you. At 8 and a half months pregnant I very nearly attended the open evening launch. I had somehow convinced myself that I could attend rehearsals (with three weeks to go until I was induced, SPD and severe insomnia) I told myself that I’d probably only miss the first few weeks when the baby was born and then I’d be able to get back to rehearse and it would be a great thing for me to do.
HA HA HA HA.
I was clearly in major denial and downright crazy. I didn’t realise that cleaning my teeth in the first two weeks of motherhood would be an achievement, let alone attending a 3 hour rehearsal and dancing round to ‘It’s good to be a Nun.’
Centenary’s secretary Clare Grimes replied to my request with one of the most diplomatic messages ever, “I am sure you will want to spend more time with that precious baby of yours… maybe see how you feel, but we will still be here for the next show Grease.” What she should have said is, “Are you out of your f**ing mind, you can hardly walk and are the size of a small town so there is no chance you will be able to dance for the next few weeks AND you are clearly deranged if you think that when the baby is here you will have time (or energy) to do anything that doesn’t involve poo, milk or sick… but we are always happy to welcome you back to Centenary.”
So, having just about survived the first 4 months of motherhood, I was very happy to be in the audience and witness such a wonderful collaboration of energy, passion and talent. You never know, I might be back for Grease!
If you are interested in joining Centenary, they are based in Warrington and have an Open Evening on Tuesday.
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