The Duns and District Amateur Operatic Society brought their production of Sister Act to the stage last week and it was a sensation!
With fast-paced action and fabulous 1970s soul-based music, as well as the sheer enthusiasm displayed by the cast, it had the audiences clapping along and dancing in the aisles.
The story opened in a seedy night club in Philadelphia where Deloris, an aspiring soul singer, witnesses a gangland murder. The police have to hide her for her own protection and where better than in a convent?
The convent they choose, however, has fallen on hard times and is about to be sold until Deloris takes over the choir, injects some soul into the service and transforms the nondescript nuns into swinging soul sisters whose performances start bringing in the crowds, the kudos and the cash.
Rather than a single director, Duns Opera went for a team and it worked. Helen Forsyth, Hannah Hay and Lizzie Hardy, did a marvellous job in pulling it all together while musical director Mike Hardy made the dots dance.
Taking on the lead role of Deloris was Lynn Gray, whose acting skills just seem to get better and better while her singing in the show’s big musical numbers was truly amazing. Supporting her was an ensemble show with everyone putting their heart and soul into it. The nuns chorus of Vicky Bayles, Rachel Gray, Emma Hay, Hannah Hay, Rosie Laird, Pip Nicholson, Cath Nicol, Lorraine Tait, Emma Taylor, Sara Thomas, Janice Wilson and Angela Winston were in the groove as the swinging sisters, while fantasy dancers, Jane Blaikie, Rachel Gray, Emma Hay and Sara Thomas looked the real deal in their 1970s catsuits.
Angela Watney took on the difficult role of Mother Supeior, desperately trying to keep dignity and order in the face of Deloris’ OTT enthusiasm but, with her superb singing voice, she carried it off brilliantly and her characterisation never hit a wrong note.
Love interest was supplied by the ever reliable DC in the role of Philly cop Eddie, with DC once again showing off his talents as actor, singer and dancer.
Managing to be both silly and sinister, were Dougal Affleck, Barnaby Bevan, Ben Foreman and Emily Drewery as CJ and his gangsters.
Though perhaps we should also add ‘sexy’ to that description as the boys’ Barry White inspired rendition of ‘Lady in the Long Black Dress’ put more than a touch of colour into the cheeks of many a lady in the audience and was a show highlight.
Other stand-out moments came from the singing of Scarlett Hardy and Grace Whitcombe, while Siobhan Herberts’ performance as the sassy soul sister ‘Mary Lazarus’ had the audience cheering.
As I overheard one audience member say as they left, “What talent, what energy, what music – what a show’.”