They say the Lord works in mysterious ways. And none more so than on opening night of The Bohemians’ disco-tinged version of Sister Act.
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A modest hit movie in 1992, its subsequent 2006 stage adaptation would go on to prove more successful. However, while the Gods shone upon the actors of this amateur theatre institution at the King’s last night, the technical aspects bestowed a more devil-may-care attitude.
Set in late-70s Philadelphia, the story revolves around hopeful nightclub singer, Deloris Van Cartier, who, having witnessed a murder at the hands of her rough-neck lover, enters a police protection program that requires hiding out in a nuns’ convent until she can testify in court.
A bit Starsky and Hutch meets Donna Summer - in a chapel – there’s no shortage of porn-star ‘taches, bling Habits, and Barry White-influenced singing on display. The three baddies’ Bee Gees-esque routine, is a comedic highlight, and Niloo-Far Khan (Deloris) brings no shortage of sass to the stage as she inspires her new-found Sisters to find their singing voice.
Dorothy Johnstone’s operatic voice, meanwhile, compliments her frequent prayers to God. And in Mairi Beaver (a marketing account manager by day) playing the role of Sister Mary Robert, here we have a genuine musical theatre talent that, take note casting agents, deserves to go on to bigger and better things.
However, while we shouldn’t take anything away from the highly impressive church stage-set – you’d swear you were looking at real stained glass windows – it’s testament to the large ensemble that they didn’t let the disappointing technical aspects dent their confidence.
Poor amplification meant voices frequently disappeared at key moments; the lighting (good as it was utilised on the church) didn’t always hit the right person at the right time; and there was one or three disasters in the costuming department, as well. Not the sort of thing you’d expect at the King’s, amateur show or not.
Nevertheless, The Bohemians actors should take pride knowing the latest production in their 106-year history has God on their side. If they can work a miracle on the technical problems, then Lord knows how good it’ll do.
Run ends Saturday