Sister Act, which was performed at the Foakes Hall on 7th-9th April last year, was heralded as the most uplifting and vibrant show the group had performed to date.
NODA is the leading representative body for amateur theatre in the UK.
The Players’ Sister Act was directed by Chris Lines with Karen Chinery as musical director. It was choreographed by Heather Bennett with Peter Dedman, chairman of The Dunmow Players.
The 26-strong cast starred Samantha Keys as Deloris Van Cartier, Decia Ranger as Mother Superior, Cian Harriss as Eddie and Adam Thompson as Curtis. Among the cast of nuns was Sister Mary Patrick played by Linda Keys, who also made her debut as assistant director.
One of the highlights of the show was the comic song, Lady in the Long Black Dress, performed by Alex Wilson (TJ), Tom Reed (Pablo) and Peter Dedman (Joey), who choreographed the number.
The musical Sister Act is based on the 1992 film starring Whoopi Goldberg. It tells the of Deloris Van Cartier, an aspiring disco diva, who after witnessing a murder, is sent to a nunnery on witness protection.
Once there, she transforms the choir but this leads to her blowing her cover. But when she is found by her ex-lover Curtis and his gang, they find themselves up against the stronghold of Deloris’ newly found sisterhood.
The Dunmow Players’ next show will be Priscilla Queen of the Desert, to be performed at Foakes Hall in late October. Auditions and rehearsals will start in May and the group has already attracted new members for on stage and to work behind the scenes.
If you live in Dunmow and have never been to one of the Dunmow Players' productions, you really have missed out. The audience for this year's production of Sister Act were rewarded with a funny, dramatic and heart-warming performance from the cast.
The story follows the life of wannabe night-club singer Deloris who witnesses a murder and must go undercover in a convent. Samantha Keys as Deloris was exceptional, carrying the lead role with amazing power and confidence. The nuns were brilliant with Decia Ranger as Mother Superior having some great one-liners.
Linda Keys played a wonderfully scatty and very funny Sister Mary Patrick superbly and Janet Price as a rapping nun, with shades and baseball cap, was priceless.
Izzy Bailey as Mary Robert sang her demanding solo, The life I Never Led, with a crystal clear voice. The supporting cast of nuns added hugely to the storytelling, bringing Act One to a memorable climax with Take Me to Heaven.
Small town cop Eddie (Cian Harriss) as heroic saviour of Deloris, Monsignor O'Hara (Vic Ranger) and the other members of the cast were great, with polished dance routines and sharp singing.
Curtis the murderous gangster, played by Adam Thompson, was particularly villainous, supported hilariously by his gang of thugs Joey (Peter Dedman), TJ (Alex Wilson) and Pablo (Tom Reed).
A musical as demanding as Sister Act needs strong direction (Chris Lines and Linda Keys), great choreography (Heather Bennett and Peter Dedman) and brilliant musical direction (Karen Chinery). We were not disappointed.
The only problem now for the Dunmow Players is how to top it?
by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner
Director Chris Lines & Linda Keys
Musical Director Karen Chinery
Choreography Heather Bennett & Peter Dedman
"The audience for this year's production of Sister Act were rewarded with a funny, dramatic and heart-warming performance from the cast." Herts & Essex Observer
"All the principals were well cast and gave terrific performances" NODA
Winner of Best Musical award in our District
A perfect choice of show for a society that has a large number of excellent female performers, in this instance joined by an impressive cast of males too. The show has a brilliant script and director Chris Lines made the most of every single nuance, bringing out the comedy to the absolute delight of the audience. The show also has some terrific songs and the company, under the direction of MD Karen Chinery, produced some strong harmonies and great musical movements.
All the Principles were well cast and gave terrific performances, Sam Keys (Deloris Van Cartier) delivered a strong performance and Cian Harriss was the perfect Eddie, he had a slight costume malfunction during his key song, I could Be That Guy, but that can happen and he carried on without a hitch in the song, well done. Decia Ranger was, quite simply, superb as the Mother Superior. A beautiful portrayal through all the emotions required of the script.
Adam Thompson was suitably menacing as the villain Curtis but it was his three sidekicks who stole the show. Their rendition of Lady In the Long Black Dress was brilliant! Peter Dedman (Joey) choreographed the number and Alex Wilson (TJ) and Tom Reed (Pablo) joined him in what was an absolute showstopper.
The Principal nuns were excellent, each having developed their own characters, Linda Keys as the scatty and lovable Sister Mary Patrick, Janet Price as Sister Mary Lazurus and a truly delightful performance from Izzy Bailey as Sister Mary Robert. Vic Ranger completed the main line up as Monsignor O’Hara, another lively performance.
The words lovely and energetic apply to the whole company, they were obviously having a great time on stage and this showed to the audience. There were some great vignettes from individual members of the ensemble. I would love to mention them all by name but where just isn’t the space in this review.
The scenery was simple, as it had to be in this venue, but extremely effective and the scene changes were carried out smoothly and with no interruption to the pace of the show. The lighting was absolutely right, and the use of the gobos to enhance the various scenes worked well.
The costumes were terrific. I do love the changes in costume that the script required and the audiences reaction at the first reveal.
A truly excellent production from the Dunmow Players, I left signing Take Me To Heaven, a sure sign that the show has made its mark! Thank you to the society for your hospitality, as always it’s a pleasure to come to Dunmow.