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REVIEW: Sister Act at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Sister Act

Newcastle Theatre Royal

Monday 19 – Saturday 24 June 2023 

The musical, which has a storyline based upon the 1992 film, is back in the region and it is all set to take the audience to heaven. It is a joyous and funny show that left us smiling. Lesley Joseph and Sandra Marvin appear as Mother Superior and lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier in the production which is at Newcastle's Theatre Royal this week. 

The show is not a jukebox musical as it full of original music written by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater. Whilst I know I say this every time I review this show but the music / songs are different to the film. I say that to ensure that you're not disappointed. But here is the thing - this is a musical and the songs fit a musical format.  


Onto the story, which has not deviated much from the film. Deloris (Sandra Marvin) is a wannabe club/lounge singer. Though her gangster boyfriend Curtis (Mark Goldthorp) is less keen on the idea and he tries to pacify her with a new coat. The trouble is that the coat still has the name in it of Curtis's wife. Annoyed she charges outside to have a word - only to witness an execution. Realising her life is in danger she tries to grab a cab to the police station to report the crime.

This is a comedy and the use of a pedalo taxi to have some Keystone Cop type humour was well worked after such a serious scene.

At the police station, Steady Eddie Souther (Alfie Parker) takes the situation seriously and offers Deloris witness protection - this leads her to hide with a group of nuns until the trial at a convent called The Holy Order of the Sisters of Our Perpetual Sorrow.

The Church is struggling - the 1977 Christmas Eve mass pulling in fewer punters than Jesus had at the last supper. The roof is leaking and antique dealers are trying to cut a deal with the diocese to buy the building. Monsignor O'Hara (Graham MacDuff) has cut a deal with the police that brings in some money but the Mother Superior (Lesley Joseph) is much less keen on the latest addition to their ranks.

Deloris starts problems almost immediately by going to a local bar and she is followed by two nuns, Sister Mary Patrick (Catherine Millsome) and Sister Mary Robert (Lizzie Bea).

Upon hearing about the excursion, the Mother Superior decides to put the musical talents of Deloris to good use and adds her to the choir. She admits that their are no words to describe the choir.

The choir is responsible for both many of the memorable and the feel good scenes in the show. It is literally an ensemble situation and the ensemble work well together.

There are some stunning vocal performances during the show. Sandra Marvin adds a real touch of class to every song she performs in. Lizzie Bea has a fabulous moment in the spotlight on The Life I Never Led. 

The big comedy musical number is arguably Alfie Parker on I Could Be That Guy - his performance drawing a large positive reaction from the audience.

Sister Act is a divine night at the theatre. Sure there are plot holes, that you can drive a bus through, and it doesn't take itself that seriously. At times it is positively camp but it works as a night's entertainment. Lesley Joseph is class and Sandra Marvin shines like a star. 

Review: Stephen Oliver

Photos: Manuel Harlan



Sister Act plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Monday 19 – Saturday 24 June 2023. Tickets can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

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