Theatre review - Sister Act, Burnley Mechanics Theatre

Sister Act, Burnley Light Operatic Society

Sister Act, Burnley Light Operatic Society - Credit: Archant

Rob Gemmell went along to see Sister Act perfomed by the Burnley Light Operatic Society at the Burnley Mechanics Theatre on Saturday 14th November 2015

In 1992 Whoopi Goldberg starred in one of the decade’s most successful comedies which to date has grossed an incredible $231,000,000 and also inspired a musical that got its West End debut in 2009. Since then, the show has gone on to receive acclaim and awards alike.

Now comes the turn for the Burnley Light Operatic Society to stamp their mark on the show to the sell-out crowd in the auditorium of the Burnley Mechanics Theatre. From the moment the lights went down, the band started up and the curtains opened we knew we were in for something really special.

The plot of the show is as the film. Club singer, Delores Van Cartier, is witness to a murder and has to go into hiding with the aid of Police Officer, Eddie. Delores finds herself under the watchful eye of the Mother Superior in a local convent where she poses as a nun. Delores soon realises this is not the life for her, but then gradually begins to find herself fitting in as she transforms the choir.

The opening number instantly had toes tapping and the vocal talents of Tori Green as Delores were apparent. From the moment the first note was played the pace of the whole show got quicker and quicker and showed no signs of slowing down. The stage was plunged from darkness with an array of specialised set pieces and a fabulous lighting sequences to accompany a truly phenomenal Production.

Anthony Williams as both Director and Choreographer has produced quite possibly one of the best musical performances I have ever seen. The perfectly sung scores alongside truly complexing and well executed dance routines were completely faultless. Jonathan Chalker’s Musical Direction and support from his wonderful musicians only excelled the performances from the cast.

There were truly too many wonderful performances to list as every cast member and member of the society worked so hard and so well together to form this fantastic show. Special mentions need to go to Joanne Gill as Mother Superior who had a simply wonderful voice against an accomplished performance. David Barrett showcased a vocal talent which could easily be heard on a professional stage with a great stage presence in the role of Eddie. The comedic trio of Chris Hall, Ricardo Castro and David Norris as TJ, Pablo and Joey respectively purely highlighted the variety of talent the society has with excellent singing voices during one of the show’s hilarious scenes which had the audience in tears. Jenny Gill and Vicki Clarkson as Sister Mary Robert and Sister Mary Patrick performed their roles to absolute perfection displaying wonderful acting performances and beautiful singing voices, but one of the highlights for me was Lesley Jackson as Sister Mary Lazarus who blew the roof of the theatre with her rendition of “Rapper’s Delight.” Her performance was so solid and well-tuned that it offered something different to the other roles which was key to all performances. The level of versatility of the characters and the actors playing them could have easily propelled the performance from Burnley to the West End.

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The star of the show, though, was Tori Green as Delores Van Cartier. Tori’s unbelievable energy and powerful signing voice were a joy to behold. She really encapsulated the essence of the show in the character with her adaptability of her acting abilities showing a superb range of emotions.

Everyone involved in the Production of the show should be immensely proud as the standing ovation at the end showed the audience’s gratitude and was well earned. Every performance this week has been sold out and that, from an amateur organisation, is truly remarkable. They have not only done themselves proud, they have done the North West and theatre in general proud.

For more information regarding the Burnley Light Operatic Society, you can visit their website on -