Alexandra Burke leads the cast of Sister Act
Success on ITV’s X Factor is often an ephemeral experience for the young hopefuls involved. For a few short weeks they are on the tip of everyone’s tongues, then as the series ends they often seem to disappear without trace. There are notable exceptions to this, and possibly the most notable is Alexandra Burke. Alexandra has a uniquely powerful and rich singing voice, and nobody could hear her winning rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah without a shiver down the spine.
This production directed by Craig Revel Horwood takes the film made famous by Whoopi Goldberg and rebuilds it as a stage musical to highlight the talent of Alexandra Burke. With this pedigree it is no surprise that this is an all-singing all-dancing spectacular of a show.
The basic plot is fairly simple. Deloris Van Cartier (Alexandra Burke) is a Philadelphia nightclub singer who accidentally sees her gangster boyfriend Curtis (Aaron Lee Lambert) murder one of his gang. Curtis vows to kill her so she runs to the Police for protection, where the officer turns out to be an old schoolmate Eddie (Joe Vetch), who harboured a crush for her over the years. Eddie puts her in the safest place he can think of, the local convent, and there her adventures begin.

Deloris becomes Sister Mary Clarence

Deloris clashes with the Mother Superior (Karen Mann) immediately, but sets to work to take the convent choir up a notch into a sassy 70s star act. The songs come thick and fast and Disney fans will recognise the work of composer Alan Menken. With several small sub-plots around relationships between various characters the show blends the caper of the chase with the gift of music as a power to bring people together. With a 19-strong cast of talented and experienced West End performers this is a big show, but the main draw is undoubtedly the remarkable talent of Alexandra Burke, who clearly merits the adulation she has enjoyed as a singer, but also shows that she has fine acting and comedic timing skills too.

If you are a fan of Saturday night TV this is the show for you, fast paced and family friendly with a spectacular and often startling set. The music and costumes recall the disco boom of the 1970s, the glitterballs fill the auditorium with twinkling stars and even the Pope gets to peek in on the action. So get your platforms and silver jump suits on, boys and girls, and get down to the Theatre Royal for a night of fabulous glamour!
©Julian Swainson
Sister Act, Monday 1-Saturday 6 May at 7.30pm, and Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets £8-£50. Discounts for Friends, Corporate Club, Over-60s, Under-18s, and Groups. Captioned performance on Wed 3 May at 2.30pm. Audio-described performance on Sat 6 May at 2.30pm. Signed performance on Fri 5 May at 7.30pm.
To book, log onto or call the box office on 01603 630000.