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Sister Acts
Published on Monday, 06 May 2013

Promotional Image

4 stars

Marlborough Theatre (venue website)
2 May, 7:30pm-8:30pm; 4-5 May, 10:30pm-11:30pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Warning: Contains strong language.
 Parental Guidance. Under-17's must be accompanied by an adult.

This review contains language which some readers may find offensive.

Sister Acts is an incredible, sprawling, manic mess of a show. Presented in two sections, exuberant drag divas Mzz Kimberly and Son of a Tutu perform two linked stories: Soul Sisters, and Whatever Happened to Son of a Tutu?

Linked stories, because there is a plot, of sorts. The two divas are sisters, although Tutu is adopted and has constant headaches with her immigration status.  The storyline doesn’t quite always hang together, and often just seems to be a source of antagonism to allow the two to throw barbs at one another. Tutu is looking for a man to marry, which causes problems when Mzz Kimberly’s Italian lover comes to call; it’s not really clear whether Tutu’s lustful betrayal is fuelled by attempts to score a passport, or just to score.

But, whatever, the plot is not really the point here. The point is singing. Both the show’s stars have amazing voices and take turns to batter the audience with their vocal power. It’s incredible. And the sublime hits the ridiculous head-on, when lyrics are changed to fit the mood of the show. Mzz Kimberley’s soaring boasts of all the things she can do because she’s a “W. O. M. A. N.” are hilarious (not least because she’s not claiming to be a woman, but a drag queen – although she uses a far slangier term). When she hollered that she can “snort coke, fuck you and kick your ass, all at the same time!” the entire audience erupted with joy.

And later in the show, when it seems immigration might have finally caught up with Tutu, she makes And I Am Telling You, I’m Not Going into a song about wanting to stay in her adopted country – and possibly even more heart-breaking that the original.

Most of the laughs that don’t derive from catty comments come from the show’s chaotic edge. Costume malfunctions and technical problems all add to the rawness and mad energy. In fact, the energy is extraordinary. I almost feel like every other show I see now will feel slightly lacklustre in comparison. At the end of the show, when Mzz Kimberly and Son of a Tutu both seem to be visibly wilting on stage, they somehow pull it together to blast the roof off, again. Just thrilling.

Everyone should watch some drag; it has a vibe like nothing else. This show is a great place to start and once you catch the bug, there’s no going back.

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