Alexandra Burke shines in Sister Act

It is a beloved movie, and with Whoopi Goldberg as the lead, there are some serious shoes to fill. But Alexandra Burke last night proved that not only does she have an incredible voice, but she is also a comic natural as she took on the role of Dolores Von Cartier in ‘Sister Act’ at the Wolverhampton Grand. Directed by Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood, the show was an absolute hoot, a real crowd pleaser with brilliant performances from the whole cast, and non more brilliant that the pocket diva in the lead. Alexandra is Dolores, and Dolores is a total star.

‘Sister Act’ follows the same story as the film. Dolores Von Cartier is waiting for her married lover, nightclub boss and Hoodlum Curtis, to make her a music star in the vein of her heroine Donna Summer. It’s Christmas 1977 and the future looks bright, but then Dolores witnesses Curtis kill one of his fellow hoodlums and flees to the police, meeting an old school friend who is now a cop, ‘sweaty’ Eddie. Dolores is put into a protection in the one place that the police think Calvin would never look, a Catholic church and convent under the care of the Mother Superior. There Dolores first of all struggles, but once put in charge of the choir she finds her true calling. But making the choir a media sensation is not the best idea, and Dolores is soon back in Curtis’s firing line. Will the church and Dolores be saved?

As Dolores, Alexandra Burke is sharp, sassy and oh so funny. A little bird told me that she was afraid she wouldn’t be funny, but she is a comic natural, her timing is perfect, and she can raise laughs from her mannerisms, her looks and gestures, particularly when she is dancing in her nun’s garbs. She has so many standout moments, from telling the Mother Superior how she has prayed for a white fur like Donna Summer, to heading to the local bar with a raft of fellow nuns in tow. Her musical performances are what you would expect from a consummate pop performer, particularly great on ‘Take me to Heaven’ a song which recurs throughout the show and is surely a lost Donna Summer number.

While Alexandra is the star, the supporting roles are pitch perfect too. Karen Mann is funny and likeable as the Mother Superior who just wants things to go back to normal, and has quite a liking for red wine. The Nuns are all brilliant, with Sarah Goggin showing the voice of an angel as Sister Mary Robert, the youngest and most vulnerable of the Sister’s. Aaron Lee Lambert is a suitably villainous Curtis, playing the role firmly tongue-in-cheek as a sort of Barry White/Richard Roundtree from Shaft hybrid, and supported brilliantly by a trio of cartoonish hoodlums Pablo (Ricky Rojas), Joey (Samuel Morgan-Grahame) and TJ (Sandy Grigelis). They bring the house down with their ‘Let’s get it on’ style song ‘Lady in the Long Black Dress’ which is hilariously sleezy.

The cast is nicely rounded out by Tim Maxwell Clarke as Monsignor O Hara, a sympathetic, forward thinking character with a taste for disco, and the brilliantly lovely Joe Vetch as Eddie. Shy and nervous, but with a John Travolta fighting to get out, Vetch’s ‘I could be that guy’ is another standout song, with a performance chorused by drunks and down and outs – total madness, very funny.

Sister Act takes all the best of the disco era, the music, the disco balls, Donna Summer, faux fur and FM boots (watch and see), and then combines this with nuns – who knew that would prove to be a perfect combination? The ultimate feelgood story is a musical with a lot of hear and soul, and a whole lot of belly laughs.

Must see.

Sister Act

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Tue 28 Feb – Sat 4 Mar

Click here for Ticket information.

BAFTA 2017 – Fave Looks

The most important night in British film is always a good place to look when it comes to glamorous Hollywood Stars and the best of British truly shining on the red carpet. I am talking about the Bafta’s of course, aka the British Academy Awards, and this year has proved to be a bit of a vintage one in terms of fashion, with some really lovely looks including a suitably regal one from the Duchess of Cambridge in Alexander McQueen.

This years awards showcased a range of beautiful looks in a range of colours and styles.  There were strapless styles, halter necks as showcased by Nicole Kidman in Armani Prive and a range of sleeve lengths, with Michelle Williams opting for a 1960s style shift from Louis Vuitton (does anyone else think she looks more and more like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby? Or is it just me?). Naomie Harris was beautifully romantic in Gucci ruffles and frills, whilst best supporting actress winner Viola Davis was bringing a beautiful touch of spring in her striped Jenny Packham dress which just showcased her incredible curves. (Don’t mind admitting I have terrible boob envy when it comes to Viola).

When it comes to taking a  fashion risk you know that you can rely on Emma Stone, a real Hollywood fashionista. This time her risk totally paid off. I LOVED her beautiful midi dress from Chanel that she wore over the top of a pair of peg trousers. The sparkle of the outfit and the otherwise minimal styling was so fresh and beautiful. I really can’t wait to see what she wears when she picks up her Oscar (we all know it’s going to happen!).

There are several other looks, all beautiful, that I really loved tonight. What was your favourite from the British Oscars?

JS120451388_Rex-Features_EE-BAFTA-British-Academy-Film-Awards-Arrivals-Royal-Albert-Hall-London-UK-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bql-gaedIA6NFU6-bwgr9qfZEcrI_P6D6vD2jxmt7La_s

Viola Davis

penelope-cruz-bafta-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BquOv8qdqAtg5F-Rc30df4ddVSpfFxuU2jZG0HzVweans

Penelope Cruz

amy-adams-baftas-2017-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bq1RmxIVhjaGNVeg6xUgRZ-KBPZ8FaJNGh3rc3HnQ1nkU

Amy Adams

Michelle-Williams-BAFTA-2017-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqImq0gSBkzcH_-jHFXstKOM0np3zmGmtnzj8oJVbWIKU

Michelle Williams

JS120451791_Rex-Features_EE-BAFTA-British-Academy-Film-Awards-Arrivals-Royal-Albert-Hall-London-UK-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqbdICf8JCObWJaRJI_qrg_6nWqqwPhkV9IOBGbmerdRw

Nicole Kidman

rexfeatures_8343326bl-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqhSyFYYMUnmgC2tNAGkgFA3WpCzjlEnPm9ZhKwAyUMBw

Naomie Harris

Duchess-of-Cambridge-mcqueen-baftas-2017-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bq1F3oZAGVsca1Y1lzObI0Gqvs5BYDO4ttV-z_zszKk_I

Duchess of Cambridge

emma-stone-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bq_WtVMNCiF6bjHOXgbX3FUAwcb8bIAODVz1GLvuVyUo8

Emma Stone

JS120452635_Rex-Features_EE-BAFTA-British-Academy-Film-Awards-Arrivals-Royal-Albert-Hall-London-UK-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bq5t97AmKBdnBOWLdWXO8WYXJm99oTgJ_Z6U2m6dgs06g

Ella Purnell

JS120452514_Rex-Features_EE-BAFTA-British-Academy-Film-Awards-Arrivals-Royal-Albert-Hall-London-UK-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqwQCNcjnSFbNUHxpqQd_w5TF0MeI2md_FNxjxxC_3bjo

Daisy Ridley

felicity-jones-bafts-2017-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqG1YX0rwVadZcH6fQh0kzGUt7YuUp25_xJDEBvivbYfQ

Felicity Jones

thandie-newton-baftas-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4Bql-gaedIA6NFU6-bwgr9qfZEcrI_P6D6vD2jxmt7La_s

Thandi Newton

noomie-rapace-baftas-2017-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqdA1v3A2BxflurfJTuadAnMMZfQLodGWmpRFmEYh8O0Y

Noomi Rapace

JS120452348_Rex-Features_EE-BAFTA-British-Academy-Film-Awards-Arrivals-Royal-Albert-Hall-London-UK-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqscHTd5i3HTafAkb90PG8GczI1nRUgLCpC7ypW2RSoXE

Isabelle Huppert

New Year New You – Start with some classic films.

unspecified

 

January is such a dark, drab and depressing month. Money is often in short supply after the excess of Christmas, days are short, nights are dark, and sometimes, going out in the evening is something best avoided. In short, January is the perfect time to discover some classic films, and movie musicals offer the perfect ‘pick me up’ way to avoid those Winter Blues.

I love a good movie musical, the sort of film that always has a happy ending, is full of singalong moments, and has characters that you are willing to succeed and find their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I have so many musical favourites, but I am going to share a few of them with you, along with one that I haven’t seen yet, but have added to my watch list for 2017.

Rock of Ages

This is one of those occasions where the movie is better than the stage musical version. With a score of unforgettable 80s rock classics and Julianne Hough as a likeable leading lady, and Catherine Zeta Jones in a totally unexpected role, Rock of Ages is fabulous, spandex rocking, fright wig wearing, bad taste fun. I love it!

917xMcBwhAL._SY500_

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Exactly what it says on the packet, and best avoided if you are looking for a feminist movie, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a 1950s treat. Seven Brothers, led by Howard Keel, decide the time has come to take a wife, and so kidnap seven brides, including Jane Powell. This is the most exuberant of all musicals, with incredible dance sequences that still take the breathe away. A classic.

seven

High Society

Another in my list of all time favourite musicals, High Society is the musical version of The Philedelphia Story, starring an exquisitely beautiful Grace Kelly as spoilt heiress Tracy Lord, engaged to be married to a new beau, but possibly still carrying a torch for her ex husband Bing Crosby. The songs in this one, including the dreamy ‘True Love’ and the sparkling Cole Porter number ‘Well, did you Evah’ are sublime, and the whole spectacle is just beautiful.

high

Singin’ in the Rain

Probably the best musical of all time, and ranking highly in lists of the greatest films of all time too, Singin’ in the Rain is a bonafide masterpiece. Telling the story of the start of the talkie movies, it has it all, from a formidable leading man in Gene Kelly, the brilliant Debby Reynolds as the sparky ingenue destined to be a star, and hilariously funny support from Jean Hagan and Donald O Connor (try keeping your face straight during ‘Make Em Laugh’). Singin’ in the Rain is the musical by which all others must be judged. If you haven’t seen it, why not?

singin

And one I’ve yet to see…

Jersey Boys

The stage version of Jersey Boys is one of my favourites, and as the film version is directed by Clint Eastwood, I really want to see this. Jersey Boys is the story of The Four Seasons, led by Frankie Valli, and their rise to fame in the early 1960s. The memorable songs like Sherry, Walk like a Man and Big Girls Don’t Cry make this a cinematic treat to savour.

jersey

If you like the sound of any of these musicals, you can find more information here.

For a chance to win all five of my chosen films, you can enter using the entry form below.
5 Classic Films DVD Competition