What we have here is a show that feels less like a personally driven work of art than a commercial exploitation of an existing franchise. Alan Menken's music admittedly has a pounding effectiveness and the opening number, Take Me to Heaven, is skilfully turned into a hymn to religious, rather than sensual, ecstasy. All too typically the nuns, in Anthony van Laast's choreography, kick up their heels like the Rockettes and prance around in gilt vestments that might be described as surplice to requirements.
There's less deft comedy, but much more music, most of it indebted to the 1970s, where the action is now set. That lets Alan Menken, the composer, have a lot of catchy fun with period rock and disco, even parodying a famous number with a rousing chorus for early Mass, Sunday Morning Fever. And that lets Patina Miller display the first of her star qualities, a terrific voice. Add warmth, humour, vivacity - and you've a star who lacks Whoopi's wry vulnerability but adds dazzle to the razzle around her.
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