4.3 Hot However, though this musical delivers quite a comparatively entertaining adaptation, the touring production somewhat lacks the kind of energy and rhythm of its original. Though its book digs deep into each main character, its zest and rhythm shy away from what we expect of a touring cast.
SISTER ACT The Musical comes with music and design that could be worth your time. It gleams with deeper backstories, and its book delves deeper into the original’s preposterous, yet feel-good plot. Yes, there are a number of sparkling punchlines that tickle the audience to roar. There are even moments in the show when you’d smile in praise for the gift of music and talent. But this one shies away from exact rhythm and zest, making it feel like “almost paradise.”
It somewhat feels like the first time you’ve seen its original film: the delight of it. Perhaps it was that very same concept that made the Broadway smash hit musical SISTER ACT so gloriously and humorously relatable. The story of Joseph Howard’s narrative tells a tale set in the early 70s in Philly where aspiring divas and firmly traditional nuns are worlds apart. But when Deloris, who dreams to become a star, witnesses her gangster boyfriend Curtis commit a crime, she ends up hiding on police orders in a place no one would ever expect to find her: a convent.
Alan Menken’s soulfully sexy score is food for the soul. It is jazzy, funky, groovy, and electrifying that it elevates worship music to cater to more than just church-goers. Featuring tracks such as “Take Me to Heaven”, “When I Find My Baby”, “It’s Good to Be A Nun”, “I Could Be That Guy”, “Raise Your Voice”, and “The Life I Never Led”. For those who are in love with feel-good music, don’t pass up the chance to see this musical at least once in your life.
The authentic wit of the punchlines made the experience all the more fulfilling. Because whether or not you’re the religious type, there’s a character that you’re bound to relate to. Perhaps some of us may relate to Mother Superior, who stands stern trying to influence others with her beliefs. While some of us to Deloris who is true to who she is despite the demands of the convent’s ways. Either way, they were all characters with challenged reservations, just like many of us.
The exchanges between the characters, particularly the punchlines are outrageously hilarious while staying wholesome. This, I find, pleasantly surprising. There wasn’t any shaming or discrimination in its comedy. One that is quite hard to find in mainstream entertainment nowadays.
But there’s something about Whoopi Goldberg’s Doloris Van Cartier in SISTER ACT (1992) that makes you want to see it again and again. Or probably, that’s just me. There’s something heartwarmingly tacky and spiritually vibrant in that satiric 90s movie-musical about a struggling singer who was forced to disguise as a nun. I think it’s Goldberg’s unflagging energy and matchless rhythm that drew a modern day caricature for such a character. And that energy of character still lives on, even with repeated viewing.
However, though this musical delivers quite a comparatively entertaining adaptation, the touring production somewhat lacks the kind of energy and rhythm of its original. Though its book digs deep into each main character, its zest and rhythm shy away from what we expect of a touring cast.
See, the transitions are quite abrupt that it left little room for the emotions. It wouldn’t hurt if we could have a little bit of Topol here and there. Dene Hill who plays Deloris sings like a pro, but lacks Goldberg’s zest. It is Rebecca Mason-Wygal as the Mother Superior who gave the show its soul and spirit, especially in her hear-rending solos and innocently punched jokes. Will Travis, who plays Eddie Souther is also a sight to wonder. His character’s warm sincerity glows in each of his scenes making him utterly lovable and viable for Deloris’ heart.
In the midst of all the crises the country is facing and changes it is experiencing, the theater industry in the Philippines is more golden than ever while doing its part; retelling age-old themes that are still alarmingly relevant today to touch its audience one show at a time. And Deloris’ story, and her character encouraged by her new found sisterhood inspire a soulful re-telling of Howard’s 1993 film. Though this one may find opportunities in pulling up more energy and appropriate pace for its narratives, one cannot deny how glorious its finale is. As it ends, it brings to mind that that unflashy conventional and even their glitzy counterparts have the right to express their own form of worship to the One Same God.
Photos by Mr. Erickson dela Cruz