Sister Act: “I have no words…”

Mrs Burton writes: For those lucky enough to see the performance of Sister Act (Seniors – end of January), you will recall one of the repeated lines is “I have no words…”.



I echo that in writing in praise of the production. It was simply superb, enormous fun and an absolute example of Old Palace at its best. Given the school was founded by an order of nuns there was something poetic in having what may well be the last big production being Sister Act. Given the challenges faced in managing a cast where people kept leaving the school, to produce something of this quality is amazing. I like to think that while Mother Emily Ayckbown may have slightly disapproved, she would have been in awe of the confidence, strength, ability and pride shown by everyone involved. 

Old Palace’s production of Sister Act was simply fantastic! Set in the vibrant city of Philadelphia, Sister Act tells the hilarious and heart-warming story of Deloris Van Cartier (played by Anna), a sassy lounge singer who witnesses a crime and is placed in protective custody in the Queen of Angels Cathedral convent. What follows is an adventure as Deloris transforms the convent’s choir, bringing a dose of soul and rhythm, much to the shock of the stern and traditional Mother Superior (played by Megan). Anna’s wit and powerful voice charmed the audience from start to finish, making her a beloved and memorable Deloris.

The show began with an energetic performance of ‘Take Me to Heaven’ by Anna, Amber and Stephanie (Deloris, Tina and Michelle). At the end of the nightclub scenes Abigail (Curtis) and the thugs filled the stage with quick movements and comedic collisions as they tried to capture their target: Deloris, who had just caught them committing a murder. The accuracy with which these students responded to the dramatic music and specifically timed gun shots proved their great level of professionalism and dedication. Abigail’s portrayal of Curtis was venomous and her threatening take on ‘When I Find my Baby’ (while comedic) was very convincing!  Deloris’ newly developed need for a hero created a platform for the character of Eddie, played by Nissi. Nissi’s performance of ‘I Could Be That Guy’ portrayed a sense of longing and desire to be the one for Deloris – it was truly heartfelt!

Act 1 went on to introduce us to the nuns and their sacred lifestyle paired with amusingly poor vocal abilities. Our nun ensemble’s ability to present each nun’s unique personality and quirks was remarkable: a furrowed brow of disapproval here and a conceited smirk there really brought the nuns’ individual characters to life! ‘Here Within These Walls’ was sung excellently by Megan and her overall characterisation of Mother Superior was impeccable. Nicole showcased Sister Mary Robert’s vulnerability and inner strength impactfully in her rendition of ‘The Life I Never Led’ during act 2.

Act 2 opened up with a lively and spirited number: ‘Sunday Morning Fever’ including an exciting ‘blink-and-you-miss-it’ on stage costume change where the plain black nun scapulars were altered to reveal a rainbow-coloured, sequin filled replacement. In this scene we see Ellie’s character, Monsignor O’Hara (the charming spiritual leader of the convent), come to life. Ellie’s commitment to audience interaction when introducing the choir created a fun and interactive experience. Sanjana’s Motown-inspired rap in this number brought about infectious laughter from audience members each night.

Another unforgettable Act 2 number was ‘Lady in ‘The Long Black Dress’, performed by Sapphy, Lola and Theresa (the thugs). The trio captivated the audience with their side-splitting interpretation of the thug dance and their refined characterisation.

While it is sometimes easy to focus on the main characters, our production would have been incomplete without our dance and acting ensembles! Both ensembles showed their versatility and unity throughout the play and maintained the consistency that made Old Palace’s take on Sister Act the great show that it was! Honourable mentions go to Jaeda, Mia and Grace who provided additional choreography alongside staff led choreography.

Finally, a huge thank you to those whom the audience described as our ‘backstage ninjas’. Led by Stage Managers Robin and Mariyah, our Sister Act Crew (from running crew to wardrobe to sound and lighting) was more than efficient!