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Review: Spokane Valley Summer Theatre’s ‘Sister Act’ is heartwarming and uproarious

Aug. 11, 2022 Updated Sun., Aug. 14, 2022 at 3:55 p.m.

Rescheduled from its canceled 2020 season, Spokane Valley Summer Theatre’s production of “Sister Act” opened over the weekend at the University High School Theatre.

Based on the 1992 film of the same name, “Sister Act” follows Deloris Van Cartier, a singer with a chance at stardom stuck in the witness protection program.

Hiding out in a convent after going to the police with information about her murderous ex-boyfriend, Deloris helps the sisters find their voices. As she helps them, Deloris learns how to rely on the people she loves.

In other words, it’s a heartwarming excuse to watch nuns sing and dance, occasionally interrupted by plot points that allow the nuns to change costumes. And I loved it.

Vanessa Cole’s Deloris is just “fabulous, baby.” Her vocals and stage presence during the convent scenes were everything.

As the pair of “bachelors dealing in antiques” (who devastatingly never appear on stage) are quoted as saying at one point, “Mary, that was fierce.”

Speaking of stage presence, Andrea Olsen (filling in for Melissa Gren as Sister Mary Patrick) should give a master class. Isabella Mesenbrink, as Sister Mary Robert, just about brought down the house with “The Life I Never Led.”

Finally, I couldn’t get enough of Darnelle Preston as Mother Superior. Her performance is expertly dry without seeming exaggerated.

It conveys a certain jadedness, and yet, you never doubt that she cares. If you’ve seen Netflix’s “Derry Girls,” Preston was giving major Sister George Michael energy.

”Sister Act,” reviewed Sunday, continues at Spokane Valley Summer Theatre through Aug. 21. For tickets and more information, visit svsummertheatre.com/tickets or call (509) 368-7897.

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