Review: Sister Act

Posted Friday, June 26, 2015 in Culture

by Gina Hamilton

"Sister Act" opened at the Maine State Music Theatre at the Pickard Theatre on Thursday, bringing the crowd to its feet. And occasionally to its knees.

In "Sister Act", self-absorbed and self-described diva Deloris Van Cartier (Trista Dollison) witnesses her adulterous boyfriend Curtis Jackson (Kingsley Leggs) murder a snitch, and realizing he can't let her live, she runs for her life. She reports the crime to the police, where high school friend Eddie Souther (Jay McKenzie) is the police chief, and he hides her in a convent, much to the chagrin of Mother Superior (Mary Jo McConnell), but to the delight of Monsignor O'Hara (David Girolmo), who is getting a hefty donation for hiding Deloris.

Deloris, however, has a hard time staying hidden, and after sneaking out to the local bar with a nun (Charis Leos) and a postulate (Cary Michele Miller) and very nearly running into the arms of her pursuers, she is told she must participate only in the convent's music program.

The music was not quite what the Mother Superior envisioned, and soon the convent is on television, the pews are filling up, and the Pope is coming for a visit. Plans to close the convent are put on indefinite hold, but the popularity of the singing nuns means that Deloris is in danger again.  When she is removed for her own and the other nuns' safety, she realizes she doesn't really want the life of a diva; she wants the life of a family of sisters around her.

Sometimes the best way to know the value of a show is when something goes haywire. Halfway through the performance, Dollison's sound system failed, but rather than stop and try to correct the problem, Dollison used her remarkable voice to belt out the songs without the benefit of technology. The rest of the singers and the pit band lowered their own volume and Dollison could still be heard in the nosebleed section!

Costumes were delightful, and the interplay between the Mother Superior and her own idea of how a convent should work and Deloris and her new ideas of how to bring faith to the masses was well played. The budding romance between Eddie and Deloris was also charming and refreshing.

The set design was marvelous, smoothly transitioning from scenes set in outdoor Philadelphia to indoor scenes in the convent and cathedral.

"Sister Act" has heart, and it's a rollicking good time. It will be playing at the Pickard Theatre until July 11. Tickets can be purchased at www.msmt.org.

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