I haven’t laughed as hard, smiled as big, or bopped along to the music as much while watching a theatre production in an incredibly long time. Lower Ossington Theatre’s production of Sister Act The Musical is a hilariously good time. With high-energy performances, catchy original songs, classic dance moves, and a heartfelt story of self-discovery, Sister Act is sure to become a favourite.
If you’ve seen the 1992 movie it’s based on, then you already know you’re in for a treat with this musical. Sister Act The Musical tells the story of aspiring singer Deloris Van Cartier (Amaka Umeh), who is struggling to get her big break in the music scene. After witnessing her club-owning boyfriend Curtis (Steven Vlahos) murder the snitch in his group of thugs, Deloris seeks protection at a police station, where she runs into Sweaty Eddie (Kiyoya Amoah), an old friend from high school. Deloris agrees to testify against Curtis, and in return, Eddie secures sanctuary for Deloris at a nearby convent. Under the watch of uptight Mother Superior (Amy Holden), Deloris begins to reassess her life after seeing the positive impact she’s making on the nuns.
The entire cast gave knockout performances. Umeh’s Deloris was sassy, bold and wildly charismatic - her very presence commands attention. Holden’s Mother Superior was uptight and slightly judgmental, with just a bit of motherly love. Her powerful voice perfectly suited the impactful song “Here Within These Walls.” Chelsea Jayne Bray’s Sister Mary Patrick was the most lovable nun of all; she instantly reminded me of Fortune Feimster (Colette Kimball-Kinney on The Mindy Project) with her bright smile, cheery disposition and warm comedic presence.
An honourable mention goes to Vlahos’s Curtis for striking the right balance between swagger and sleaze, as well as his wildly hilarious trio of thugs who brought the divine comedy to new levels. Ed Robinson’s Joey, Brian Gibson’s Pablo, and Luiz Monterei’s TJ owned the stage with their goofy dispositions, cheesy pickup moves and spot-on '70s dance moves. Their rendition of “Lady in the Long Black Dress” had me in stitches.
One of the best things about this production was the amazing use of theatre space. Movable set pieces and brick wall dividers created new spaces instantaneously. The intimate venue made it feel like the actors were performing directly to you, rather than into the dark abyss of a large theatre audience. During Umeh’s rendition of “Fabulous, Baby!” I was lucky enough to be in her line of sight, making it feel more like a private performance. The power of eye contact between the cast and audience members is one of the many things that made this production so special.
Directed by Tanisha Taitt, Sister Act The Musical is playing at the Lower Ossington Theatre until Jan. 29. For more information, visit www.lowerossingtontheatre.com.