Review of “Nunsense” – It’s Habit Forming
Even if you didn’t go to Catholic school, you will appreciate the humor in Dan Goggin’s Nunsense. Nunsense is part of the Barksdale’s 2010-2011 Signature Season at Hanover Tavern and is directed by Bruce Miller (Artistic Director) and Phil Whiteway (Managing Director). The intimately small yet well-tuned cast includes Catherine Shaffner (Sister Mary Regina), Shalimar Hickman-Fields (Sister Mary Hubert), Jan Guarino (Sister Robert Anne), Debra Wagoner (Sister Mary Amnesia), and Brittany Simmons (Sister Mary Leo).
The premise behind Nunsense is that the audience is attending a fundraiser for the Little Sisters of Hoboken, affectionately called the “Little Hobos,” in order to bury the last nuns who unfortunately met an untimely death due to Sister Julia’s accidental food poisoning from one of her many creative culinary experiments. Mother Superior Sister Mary Regina heads over the convent and is assisted by Sister Mary Hubert as the Mistress of Novices – the back and forth banter between the two is quite humorous especially regarding Mother Superior buying the new flat-screen TV for the convent instead of burying the last few nun’s who departed this earth from Sister Julia’s culinary misadventure.
Sister Robert Anne is a dropout of Verna’s Cashier School and Reverend Mother took pity on her and invited her to join the convent. Sister Robert Anne is a Jersey girl who’s previous life suits her well for relating to the language of the students at Mount Saint Helen’s School that the convent operates. Sister Mary Amnesia is the essential “lost soul” since her arrival at the Little Sisters of Hoboken, she does not know how she got there other than remembering a crucifix toppling on her head and resulting in Amnesia in both personality and name. Sister Mary Leo is the newest member of the convent upon deciding to dedicate her entire life to God and the dance.
Nunsense features habit-forming song and dance – who doesn’t love a dancing nun? This performance was filled with plenty of laughs and encourages some audience participation as well. The vocals from the cast of Nunsense are a pleasant surprise and the quirky twists and turns in the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will certainly find the Little Sisters of Hoboken in Nunsense to warm your heart and if it doesn’t – Mother Superior may go after you with her ruler!
Nunsense plays the Bradley Theatre at Hanover Taven now through February 6, 2011. For tickets and show times, visit Barksdale Theater. Photo by Greg Garner.
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