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As a big fan of the 1992 movie of the same name, and also a fan of Blackpool and Fylde Light Opera Company, I was keen to see how they would handle this production.

Chairman/Production Secretary, Phil Chapman, was contacted by the theatre and music publisher Joseph Weinberger Ltd and asked to perform the musical. As only 35 companies nationwide have been offered this opportunity, it was a tremendous privilege to be one of them, and proves just how talented the company are. Wednesday night saw the opening night at The Grand Theatre.

The show opens in the setting of the convent, with Mother Superior, ably portrayed by Alima Khan, praying for money to prevent the convent from closing. In complete contrast, this is followed by Deloris singing in the vain hope that her boyfriend, Curtis, will allow her to perform in his nightclub. At this stage the comedic element is introduced when she opens a Christmas present from him. It is obvious that it isn’t going to be the fur coat she had hoped for, but the alternative provided laughter. Deloris is played by talented actress and singer, Rachel Johnson. In the film Deloris was played by Whoopi Goldberg, a hard act to follow, but Rachel portrayed the character with charisma and zest. She hopes to perform professionally one day, and, if this performance is anything to go by, she certainly has the talent to achieve her ambition.

Another favourite with the audience was Mark Chapman as Officer ‘Sweaty Eddie’ Souther. Deloris informs him of a murder, perpetrated by her boyfriend, and he is in charge of keeping her safe until the court case. This involves taking her to the convent where she meets Mother Superior, who is less than impressed with her dress and lifestyle. She is introduced to the other sisters, who think that she is a nun visiting them for a few months. There are too many talented performers among the nuns to list them all, but mention must be given to Sarah McFadyen who plays the timid postulate, Sister Mary Robert, and Danielle Woodhouse, who plays the dizzy Sister Mary Patrick. Another favourite among the audience was Dave Hume as Monsignor O’Hara.

The audience is next introduced to the choir, comprising tone deaf and tuneless nuns. This changes rapidly when Dolores agrees to give them singing lessons. Their fame spreads, and eventually, Curtis sees them on TV and prepares to enter the convent with his gang to kill Doloris. The gang, Peter Baldwin as Curtis, Jeremy Clarke as Joey, Brad Wilson as TJ and Erik Blackburn as ‘Italian’ Pablo, are hilarious when they each discuss how to charm a woman in order to gain entry. Those of you who have seen the film will no doubt remember the ending, but I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t.

So, dust down your wimple, and get into the habit. This heavenly, high octane romp of a feel-good show, filled with music, laughter and song runs until Saturday.  Tickets can be booked at the Church Street box office, by phoning (01253) 290190 or by visiting the website.

 

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