Venue: Haymarket Theatre Basingstoke
Performance Date: 18 May 2022
Reviewer: Leyla Demirel
Following the rehearsal of Basingstoke Amateur Theatre Society’s (BATS) Sister Act, I was looking forward to seeing the finished show. And it provided the fun, high energy and laugh a minute show everyone could do with a dose with from time to time. Under Lousie Travis’ direction and a cast determined to give audience members a night to remember, the theatre was full of well-deserved applause and cheers by the end of the show, showing gratitude to a company that have worked tirelessly hard to give audiences a good night out and a show to enjoy.
Leading the show is Kirsty Kingham as Deloris, a role with big expectations. Yet Kingham does not let this phase her. Her vocals are incredible, and she is perfectly cast in this role – capturing the cheeky yet loving essence of Deloris the whole way through. She carries the show tirelessly – even more admirable is how she learnt the role in just 6 weeks. Bearing in mind as this is amateur dramatics, that’s not 6 weeks of all day everyday rehearsing, but 6 weeks of a few hours, twice a week. You’d never tell, as Kingham looks as though she was born for the stage and brings Deloris to life wholeheartedly and wins us all over.
Opposite of Deloris, you have Paul Morris as bad guy Curtis, supported by Richard Bond, James Young and Bryn Hughes as his wannabe back up men – Joey, TJ and Pablo. They bring the comedy to the show and never miss the mark with the comedic timing and punchlines. All three are just naturally brilliant by being these comedic characters without having to try too hard. They are very convincing, perfectly finding the line between playing the nice guys who end up with bad jobs.
It can safely be said Sister Act is an ensemble show through and through. The stellar ensemble elevates this show, filling the theatre with their strong vocals and the energy that is palpable from all four corners. In the more full-on numbers, such as raise your voice’ and ‘Spread the Love Around, it’s hard not to get caught up in the show and be rooting for everyone on stage.
It’s amazing to see how far the show has come from the rehearsal I was invited to watch just a few weeks ago. The rehearsal then was something special, but to now see the finished piece filled out with the costumes, set and props was a wonder – the stained-glass windows all beautifully lit up, the nuns habits with the added glitter and glamor as they perform for the pope, Deloris’ epic big and blonde wig…all these details just really pull the show together that bit more.
This may not be a West End company, but the love and support everyone has for each other is unmatched. To see everyone beaming with joy and putting all they have into their performances on stage is nothing short of wonderful, and for that, BATS cannot be praised enough. Sister Act may be rough around the edges at times but given this is a show put on by people in their own free time after their usual jobs, fitting this into their lives as an added extra, they have done themselves proud by creating such a joyous and fun-filled show.
The humongous effort and hard work every person has put in is starkly clear from the first to the final note, and there was never any disappointment watching. Sister Act is the uplifting show everyone could do with a dose of, and BATS has more than provided that.
Sister Act runs at the Haymarket Theatre until the 21st May. Book tickets here: https://www.anvilarts.org.uk/whats-on/event/bats-sister-act-the-musical