BWW Review: SISTER ACT at Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre
Sister Act is the latest production at Lancaster's Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre. Based on Whoopi Goldberg's hit movie of the early 90's, the plot revolves around Deloris Van Cartieir (Kimberly Oliver). Deloris is a street smart lounge singer forced into hiding in a convent, after witnessing her criminal boyfriend shoot an informant.
Oliver is a powerful gospel singer, and she is a great fit both vocally and visually for the part. However, I didn't feel that she has the comedic chops that this role demanded. Deloris is supposed to be charismatic and sassy, but that really didn't come through. Oliver's laughs stemmed mostly from the script's dialogue, rather than any characterization choices.
Timothe Bittle does a good job as her aforementioned criminal boyfriend, Curtis. He alternates easily between detachment and menace. Assisting Curtis in tracking down Deloris are his henchmen, Joey (Brian Kalinowski), Pablo (Martin Bonventre) and TJ (Thaddeus Piett). The three of them a could best be described as The Three Stooges in leisure suits. These guys are a lot of fun, especially Piett. He makes the most of his small part, and was definitely an audience favorite.
Tyler Price plays Officer "Sweaty" Eddie Souther. Eddie helps Deloris go into hiding, and has a crush on her. He is nicknamed "Sweaty" Eddie because of his profuse lack of confidence, which is not a particularly desirable trait for a cop. He shows sensitivity and vulnerability, especially in his torch song, "I Could Be that Guy".
Jama Bowen plays the uptight Mother Superior who takes in Deloris against her best wishes. She is played a bit too one-dimensional. A great deal of the humor stems from the conflict of personality between the women. However, the script is sometimes sloppy in this area. Deloris states that she went to Catholic school for 12 years, yet many of the jokes depend on her religious ignorance. It just doesn't add up.
One of the biggest difference between the movie and the musical is the change of setting to the late 1970's. The Dutch Apple technical crew excel with this revision. With the exception of an anachronistic rapping nun, the costumes, props, music, and choreography were very era-appropriate.
Despite some flaws in consistency and pacing, Sister Act is a fun show. I applaud Dutch Apple's decision to produce more contemporary material. Based on the large number of teens in the audience, this show will prove to be a great way to reach a new generation of customers.
Sister Act runs now through November 10. Tickets are more info can be found on this website.