If we were to make a list of the films we turn to when the real world feels a bit much, Sister Act would be up there. The cult 1992 musical comedy, starring Whoopi Goldberg as a nightclub-singer-turned-nun, strikes the perfect balance between silly, sarcastic and schmaltzy, and is guaranteed to give you warm, fuzzy feelings whenever you watch it (Mean Girls and Clueless, we find, have a similar effect).
One of Sister Act’s greatest attributes, of course, was the music. Hail Holy Queen! My God (My Guy)! I Will Follow Him! Even for the non-religious among us, it’s almost impossible not to join in when a group of nuns starts singing Etta James.
With that in mind, you might want to clear a bit of space in your diary next month. Six special screenings of Sister Act are coming to London – and they’re accompanied by a full gospel choir.
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A Sister Act stage musical, with music by Beauty and the Beast’s Alan Menken, launched in the West End in 2009 (the show is currently on tour around the UK). But the Sister Act Live Choir offers something a little different. From 21-29 April, London’s beautiful Central Hall Westminster – itself a Methodist church – will be transformed into a pop-up cinema, with live music provided by the 35-piece Uplifted Voices choir and a full band.
The screenings are the brainchild of Amacoast Cinema, an organisation dedicated to creating immersive cinema experiences based around black cinema.
Similar screenings last year were entirely sold out, with many audience members turning up in full nun-garb themselves.
“We intend to put on one of the most powerful and uplifting immersive live cinemas experiences London has experienced,” says Amacoast Cinema founder Dele Aro.
He adds: “It’s great to see Amacoast Cinema connecting large groups of diverse people together to share a unique experience and create new memories around film.”
Sister Act tells the story of Deloris Wilson (Whoopi Goldberg), a wise-cracking lounge singer in Reno, Nevada. When she witnesses someone being murdered by her mobster boyfriend, Deloris goes on the run, taking refuge in the one place she assumes he’ll never think to look: a convent.
The original Sister Act film featured a script by Paul M. Rudnick and the late, great Carrie Fisher (writing under the pseudonym Joseph Howard). Despite a mixed critical reception it was one of the most financially successful films of the early 1990s, and over the years has become a cult favourite.
A sequel, Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit was released in 1993. Goldberg herself has hinted that she wouldn’t be opposed to taking part in a Sister Act 3, although she sounds comfortable with the story being told on stage rather than on camera for now.
“I would love to do it, but we sort of sent it out on stage – world domination, it’s in all these different countries,” she told Out magazine last September. “But should they ever make a three it would be lots of fun. I think people would like it.”
Tickets for the Sister Act Live Choir start at £35. For more information, see amacoastcinema.com. We’ll see you in church…
Images: Rex Features, Amacoast Cinema