Archive for April, 2019


My second helping of Sister Act in just over a year, primarily as a research trip as I may be doing it in 2020. However, Sister Act is also a fabulous show and I looked forward to seeing Willenhall Musical Theatre Company’s production.

Sister Act – The Dormiston Sports and Arts Centre – 11 April 2019 Photo © Antony N Britt

Sister Act is the story of Deloris Van Cartier, on the run from her crime boss boyfriend after she witnesses a murder. Having to give evidence against him, Deloris seeks sanctuary in a convent, disguised as a nun with Mother Superior the only member of the order who knows her identity. With music from Alan Menken and lyrics by Glenn Slater, plus book courtesy of Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, this is a fast-paced comedy which ticks the right boxes in terms of music, laughs and all-round entertainment.

In the lead role of Deloris was Laura Autumn Rai who gave the perfect performance in this iconic role. With powerful voice and great timing, she owned this part. Then we had Juliet O’Brien, again giving all you’d expect and more as Mother Superior. Playing Mary Robert was Abbie Rai whose character grows in confidence during the show. Nothing confidence-growing about Abbie’s performance though as hers was stand-out all through the night. In the part of Eddie, we had Daniel Haddon. Daniel, as on two previous occasions I have seen him on stage, showed what a fantastic character actor he is. All three have been so diverse you only have the credits to tell you it was the same person. Also getting their characters spot-on were Rachel Chadwick (Sister Mary Patrick) and Nikki Rai (Sister Mary Lazarus). The talent runs deep at Willenhall.

Now, memory had the part of Monsignor O’Hara as being rather dull. However, Roger Stokes brought it to life, raising the comic aspect and thus making Monsignor a great deal more fun to watch. Adrian Smith was excellent as Curtis Jackson. Good voice and marvellous stage presence. And then the henchmen: Will Phipps (Joey), James Totney (TJ) and Dom Napier (Pablo). These three had my number of the night with Lady in the Long Black Dress.

Supporting well among a talented and enthusiastic cast we also saw Abbie Sellick (Tina), Megan Rai (Michelle), Jennie Rullan (Mary Theresa), Simon Williams (Ernie), Alex Jeffreys (Copper) and Carol Ann Burgess (Sister Mary Martin).

Further songs I enjoyed were Take Me to Heaven, When I Find My Baby, I Could Be That Guy, The Life I Never Led, Sister Act, Spread the Love Around and Raise Your Voice. And then there was It’s Good to Be a Nun. I’ll never understand why How I Got the Calling was dropped in favour of Good to Be a Nun, but Nun does the same thing and is still fun.

Directing Sister Act for Willenhall was Alf Rai who can be proud of his cast. Equally, Gladstone Wilson brought forth a wonderful wall of sound in terms of vocals and band. Finally, choreography was at the top of the league in the hands of Lindsey Grant.

At the end of the performance, a packed audience (not bad for a Thursday) rose to their feet for an ovation, which was good, because Willenhall Musical Theatre Company had earned it.

Sister Act – The Dormiston Sports and Arts Centre – 11 April 2019

Cheers.

Antony N Britt

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I must admit, I don’t listen to contemporary pop a great deal these days. In a world full of X-Idols who’ve got talent and a nice voice, I’m happy to stick to my rock roots. And I’m not alone. I often hear comments about older music on the lines of, “Well, it’s better than the rubbish you hear these days.” And in most cases, this is true. However, when you least expect it, somebody comes along to shake the foundations and offer something a bit different.Album Review – Billie Eilish: When We All fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

It’s difficult to describe Billie Eilish’s style. I guess a magical blend of good tunes, music and voice, then that rare full house of meaningful lyrics which hit home not only to the teen generation, but older listeners like myself. It’s a case of, “I don’t know why I think this is fantastic, but I do.” And any artist with an endorsement from Dave Grohl is going to be worth a try.

Billie Eilish comes from an acting/musical family and along with brother, Phineas O’Connell, produced When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? The album is a follow-up to numerous singles and EP, Don’t Smile at Me. Okay, perhaps EP is a misrepresentation for that first offering has a duration greater than most Beatles albums. At 17, Billie is the youngest artist to go direct to number 1 in the UK album charts. She comes across as a free spirit, an individual, and how can you not love someone whose middle name is Pirate?

Recorded in the home bedroom, the album has everything. From the kick-ass opening of Bad Guy, we are taken on a journey which states you’re going to have as much fun listening to it as they did in the making. An incredible use of multi-track vocals is nowhere better displayed than Xanny which states Eilish has never had or will have need for drugs. The previously released single, You Should See Me in a Crown, is massive in terms of impact as is the melancholy, When the Party’s Over. And then we have Bury a Friend, surely one of the best songs of the decade. This is not to say album tracks don’t match up. All the Good Girls Go to Hell could be played on repeat all day long as is also the case with My Strange Addiction and Ilomilo.

If you check out YouTube, there is video of the full set of a recent gig in London and you can see the effect on the young audience there. But I enjoyed watching it as well. Here we have a person with something to say, and long may she continue saying it.

Album Review – Billie Eilish: When We All fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?

Cheers.

Antony N Britt.

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