There’s a nervous moment at the beginning of any show with a celebrity in the headline role. Are they here to sell tickets, or because they’re actually any good? I’ve got the benefit of never having seen the 1992 film of the same name, but the buzz in the Hippodrome before the show says expectations are high.

The story follows more or less the same plot of the film – soul singer Doloris witnesses her mobster boyfriend, Curtis, played by Aaron Lee Lambert, murder a police informant. On telling the police, she gets rushed into witness protection – where better for this fierce and fabulous performer than a convent?

Within her first few minutes on stage, Alexandra Burke (2008’s X Factor winner) proves she’s got what it takes to meet the demanding needs of musical theatre. Her flamboyant portrayal of Doloris is a tour de force from start to finish. Equally as strong is her ensemble of singing nuns, led by Karen Mann as the stern Mother Superior. Their show is full of laughs, but the comedy reaches its height when the sisters go in search of Doloris in a nearby bar – confusing a disco ball for a host of angels and misbehaving with the best of them.

It’s a feel-good show which will have you laughing and tapping your toes throughout. Relocating from the movie’s 90’s San Francisco to 70’s Philadephia means it’s a must for lovers of soul. And how can you go wrong with a show with a cardboard cut-out of the Pope?

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