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Previews
Sister Act
Sister Act
Peoria Players Theatre
September 11 - 13 & 17 - 20

By Jarrod Bainter


This weekend Peoria Players Theatre opens the stage version of the neo-classic film from 1992, Sister Act. This musical tells the story of the bombastic club singer from Philly, Deloris Van Cartier, who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and must be quickly shuffled to the witness protection program. Fate, being full irony, sees that she winds up in a convent which has a rag tag choir of nuns in need of some guidance in the ways of performance art. All the while Deloris is both trying to get out of the Catholic cage she finds herself in and on the run from those who fear what she knows.

The stage version may differ from the film because the notable songs are different, but the heart is still intact because of the memorable characters and charming comedy. Mary Irby Moore, who plays Deloris, does a terrific job to set the tone of the show from the very beginning with a strong performance with the opening number and a sharp wit throughout the producton. In contrast Wendy Blickenstaff offers a great straight man, in the comedic sense, to Deloris with her interpretation of the Mother Superior character. Another notable for me was the performance of Anthony Hendricks as the officer in charge of the newly displaced heroine, Eddie, who starts stereotypical kind of cop in a comedy, but evolves to a rather nice love interest with a dash of charisma. In my view though, the highlights of the show are the scenes with the choir nuns together as a group playing off each other to create humor in the chaos of so many different personalities, but in the end coming together to achieve a common goal, spirituality through good music.

I do think the show, or more specifically the script itself, is long. Especially for a comedy. With a runtime of 2 hours and 45 minutes (including intermission) I felt that there were moments where the pace of the show was slow and even some entire scenes which could have used some major tightening up. The real shame is that everyone in the show could be the best actor in the world, and this show would likely still suffer this same malady due to the words written on the page by it’s authors. I also could have used more dance numbers in the tunes which didn’t include the nun choir. There were too many songs where the majority of the motion was limited to walking back & forth and/or a simplistic swaying while the actor belted out a stirring song which didn’t fit the physical action they were exerting.

In summation, the majority of the show is funny, charming, and even exciting at times, but it will have it’s moments when you may look at your watch or glance at the program. However if you are on the lookout for an entertaining evening with some laughs set to some funky tunes this may satisfy your needs.

Sister Act continues at Peoria Players with performances today (Sunday) at 2 pm and Thursday through Saturday beginning at 7:30 pm .  Tickets are $18 for adults and $12 for students aged 18 & under and are available at the Peoria Players box office, by calling 309-688-4473 or online at www.PeoriaPlayers.org

Posted on September 13, 2015 

 

 
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