Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sister Act at MBS in Review


Written by Jeremy Lee

I’ll admit it, when I first heard that the iconic 1992 comedy Sister Act was being made into a stage musical, I was sceptical. But then I thought, if Dirty Dancing and Saturday Night Fever could be made into successful jukebox musicals, why not Sister Act?

Then I heard that it was going to have all-original music, and I started to have my doubts again.  After all, part of the reason why Sister Act was so popular was because of its soundtrack, which had RandB songs performed by imitable EGOT winner Whoopi Goldberg and her nun chorus. Remember hits such as “I Will Follow You”, “My Guy (My God)” and the pure ecstasy of “Shout”?

Why take away these great songs and replace them with new songs that people won’t know?


Well, all my doubts were vanquished when I saw the musical, now playing at the MasterCard Theatres at the Marina Bay Sands. Base Entertainment Asia has a record of bringing in good shows, and I shouldn’t have doubted their judgement for a minutes.

Turns out that the original songs are a worthy improvement on the original indeed. Every piece that the nuns sing is a classic in the making, and we get a taste of that joyful effervescence first the very scene, when Deloris sings “Take Me To Heaven” as a lounge singer. That instantly catchy song will be repeated most notably by the nuns in their first performance as a revamped choir, and will send the audience humming into the intermission and probably long after the show has ended.

It’s no wonder, as the show’s original songs were composed by Alan Menken, who is behind the most popular songs in Disney history -- he’s the man behind The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin, among other classic shows. And you can guarantee with Menken writing the music, the songs will have melodies that are heartfelt and memorable.

The plot follows the movie’s plot closely, and it has the same madcap comedy stylings that made the original so popular. Even the villains and policemen are portrayed as goofballs, so there’s no fear that the show will be too dark for grandma or your 6-year-old niece to watch.


Leading lady Dene Hill as Deloris Van Cartier may be no Whoopi Goldberg, but that’s no problem at all. She’s a younger, prettier version, with the same charm, and actually much better pipes.

Rebecca Mason-Wygal as the obstinate Mother Superior is also a hoot. She has great comic timing and a strong voice in “Haven't Got a Prayer”.


Viewers will also notice that Sister Mary Robert, the young nun, is played by South Korea’s Sophie Kim, who despite performing in roles in Rent, Mamma Mia and West Side Story in her native country, is making her Asian debut in this role. An established star in South Korea, she took the brave step of moving to New York in 2010 to further her performing career. And yes of course, she’s performing in English. We wonder why it took so long, as Kim’s innocent charm is perfect for the role. She stole the show with her winning voice and sturdy belt, and was easily the favourite of the audience.

Unfortunately this show has already ended its run in Singapore and moved on to Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan. However, there are many more exciting touring productions heading to MBS, including West Side Story and the famous Parisian Crazy Horse Cabaret to look forward to. One looks forward to more exciting evenings in the theatre at MBS!

See also: our exclusive video interviews with the cast of Sister Act.

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