Thursday, 4 June 2009

Round the Reviews: Sister Act The Musical

You'll remember, I was so excited about seeing this show.

But Sister Act The Musical failed to live up to expectations.

Sure it was fun. There were funny moments. Some of the songs were sweet. The blokes did a good job in their cameotyped(?!) roles.

But my overriding feeling about it was that it was just all a bit crass.

The supposed heart-string-pulling songs seemed manipulative; the set with the giant Jesus feet and the terrible glitterball Mary bordered on obscene. Some of the innuendo was truly awful (JC was most unimpressed when I told him about the bulging pockets line when I got home!) I tried to say as much in a hastily written review for londonist.

Part of me even wondered if anyone with a particularly religious outlook (and admittedly, a slightly out-of-place funny bone) might've actually found it offensive.

I was worried all this negativity might've been because I'd been lucky enough to see the wonderful Billy Elliot all too recently, so I've been round the reviews to see what everyone else was saying...

Charles Spencer has put together one of the most terrible pieces of reviewing I've seen for a while. Here's the opening:

What is it about Andrew Lloyd Webber and nuns?

There has always been something dark and brooding about Lloyd Webber. Could it be that he harbours dark erotic fantasies about nuns?

Jeez. It gets worse:
Among the support, Katie Rowley Jones makes a sweet novice, Claire Greenway is deliciously plump and funny as the over-enthusiastic Sister Mary Patrick, while Julia Sutton plays the oldest, toughest sister more like Jimmy Cagney than a nun.
I wonder if he's ever described a man as "deliciously plump". It's hardly a review of her performance, is it? Oh, and there's the inevitable pun at the end that no-one needs or cares about, but that makes sure the Torygraph gets on the posters:
I suspect this musical comedy about a nun on the run could prove habit-forming.
Good old Billington gave it an appropriate two stars:
What was originally a fairytale fantasy, however, makes little sense in its new, vulgarised incarnation. In the movie, the music arose naturally from the story: there was even a certain wit about seeing a group of wimpled warblers turned into a cohesive unit. But here, long before the heroine has got to work on their larynxes, they are leaping about the stage like showbiz pros telling us How I Got the Calling.
Over at the Times, Benedict
a rather sweet, sentimental film has been hyped up, coarsened, given what — were the Palladium flown to Times Square — we'd call the big, brash Broadway treatment.
And while I hate to agree with the Daily Mail, I really think that their reviewer (Quentin Letts) is spot on:
I hated its artistic laziness, its predictability, its incuriosity, its idea that disco is divine and that spirituality can never be found in discreet and dignified worship... From the start there is basically one joke: namely, the spectacle of nuns grooving around on the dance floor. I know I may be taking it too seriously but I found myself recoiling sharply from this story's saccharine values and its bullying gaiety.


But oh, the clich├ęs. In any comedy involving a large troupe there seems to be this recipe: one fat character (probably with glasses, looking like ex BBC weatherman Ian McCaskill); one old 'un, invariably a hell raiser; one young innocent. They duly turn up here.

I'm sure, along with the two critics I agree with, that it'll run and run. Can't wait til WEW get to see it...

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