In its last musical in their current space, The Barn’s Sister Act, directed by Guy Gardner, takes its audience on an energetic, sequin-covered ride, telling the story of a lounge-singer turned nun hiding in a convent to avoid being murdered.
The show is led by the witty, sassy, and captivating Deloris (Allison Jones), who makes the most of her time at the convent by joining and improving the convent choir, while also forming deep bonds with her fellow sisters. Your heartstrings are pulled as you watch these spirited ladies care about one another. Enthusiastic Sister Mary Patrick (Victoria Strafuss) and cautious-but-caring Sister Mary Robert (Ramsey Self) both have excellent stage presence throughout, giving us two endearing performances you remain attached to. Sister Mary Lazarus (Vicki Kerns) provides much of the comic relief, with many witty quips that are less than holy but oh so relatable, while stern Mother Superior (Ruth Bigus) does all she can keep the nuns in check. Watching the energy of the nuns keeps you hopeful and interested, which makes the faltering mics all the more disappointing. Many lines were lost during group numbers, namely during “It’s Good to Be a Nun”, due to being drowned out by the band. And while we’re talking of the band… WOW. I thought it was a recording that was being played, and it wasn’t until I was leaving and saw the band carrying out their equipment that I realized the music was live. Amazing performances there.
Following another story line, we watch Deloris’s ex track her down with his three … erm, assistants, who perhaps present my personal favorite number. TJ (Anne Haines), Joey (Josh Arellano), and Pablo (Julian Rivera) charm us with a funny-sexy number, filled with body rolls and pelvic thrusting, that teaches you how to flirt with a nun. Each actor has a fantastic solo moment that wins you over, and if any of you three read this, please feel free to call me. A minor story line is the romantic tension between Deloris and “Sweaty” Eddie Souther (Nathaniel Rasson), who, at first seems unsure of every line he says, but eventually redeems himself with bumbling confidence. Occasionally, the show suffers a few moments of panicked actor thought processing, but by the second act, the performers seem much more comfortable on the stage.
Incorporated throughout the show are clever scene transitions and choreography (shout out to Tina (Julian Rivera) who, during the opening number, slayed). The costume changes were also entertaining when pulled off correctly (pun intended), with a few unfortunate on-stage spoilers, mainly during the first act. The lighting and costuming go well together, creating beautiful and groovy visuals.
Sister Act has its audience singing praises with the high energy group numbers and encouragement between devoted sisters doubling as long-lasting friends. Jubilant numbers, such as Raise Your Voice, are chaotic in the most delightful way, while the more moving solos keep the story on track. Sister Act reminds you of how important non-judgmental friendships are, with a wholesome conclusion leaving you wanting to call your own sisters.