BATS members have faced a tough time preparing for their upcoming performance of Sister Act at The Haymarket theatre, with Covid “severely impacting” rehearsals according to chairman of the amateur theatrical society, Ian Moseley.

However, you would never know this from the incredible performance the hugely talented cast put on.

Despite more than two thirds of the cast ill and in isolation for two weeks during March, the team has worked hard to pull together and perfect the production which is set to uplift and delight audiences from May 17 to 21.

It is the second time BATS has staged Sister Act, after wowing audiences back in 2015.

The society decided to revisit the successful show as members “find our feet again post lockdowns”, said Ian.

Based on the book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater, the story is perhaps a familiar one to many who remember the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg.

It follows nightclub singer Deloris Van Cartier (Kirsty Kingham) who is witness to a fatal shooting carried out by her on-off boyfriend Curtis (Paul Morris).

Forced to go into hiding undercover in a convent, Deloris finds friendship and support from the group of nuns.

Kirsty Kingham embraced her inner-diva to play a convincing Deloris, adopting her feistiness and sassiness with ease as she strutted across the stage in confidence and belted out the musical numbers with power and emotion.

No one will leave questioning her star quality after her rendition of Fabulous, Baby.

However, it is not just the lead roles who shine, with many of the supporting characters also standing out and impressing with their physicality and vocal performances.

The group musical numbers dotted throughout are a joy to watch, expertly choreographed by Louise Travis who is also director. 

Uplifting, joyous and wildly funny, it’s impossible not to tap your foot along and have a little boogie in your seat when the nuns sing, dance and rap together.

This is juxtaposed with the emotional ballads, including Mother Superior’s (Sally Manning) Here Within These Walls, which feels almost ethereal performed against the beautifully lit chapel set complete with stunning stained-glass windows.

Morris gives a powerful performance as Curtis singing When I Find My Baby and Eddie Southern (Ian Moseley) evokes sympathy in I Could Be That Guy.

The first act finishes on a high with Deloris and the nuns belting out the upbeat Take Me to Heaven.

If the first act was all about Deloris, the second act shines a light on some outstanding performances from several individuals, including Rhianon Mone who plays Sister Mary Robert.

Watching her transform from a shy, timid, gentle young girl to a confident, determined and fiercely loyal friend to Deloris, she delivers an incredible rendition of The Life I Never Led.

Perhaps the highlight of the second act (arguably the entire show) was the hilarious performance from trio Bryn Hughes (Pablo), James Young (TJ) and Richard Bond (Joey) who thoroughly entertain in Lady in the Long Black Dress, made extra comical with the super-high-pitched Bee Gees style singing.

James Young says he has worked on his physicality for the show and this is evident as his comical timing, expressions and body language bring the character to life.

There is a dramatic climax as the nuns unite in sisterly solidarity to protect Deloris, before ending on a high with the upbeat Raise Your Voice, complete with a particularly impressive dance move performed by one of the nuns which is sure to have the audience laughing out loud.

This feel-good, uplifting show is a real triumph and not to be missed. Or, in the words of Deloris, 'Fabulous, Baby'!

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