Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Nunsense"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2009 by Tony Annicone

"Nunsense"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at Portsmouth Community Theater is Dan Goggin's "Nunsense". The show is about five zany nuns, the little Sisters of Hoboken who are putting on a fundraiser to raise money to bury 52 sisters accidentally poisoned by the convent cook, Sister Julia Child of God. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of "Grease". The nuns sing and dance their way into the hearts of the audience with their clever and witty lines and dialogue. Director Kate Grana infuses the show with the energy needed while musical director Nicole Sousa plays the keyboards while doing banter with cast members while Missy Cupp plays clarinet an saxaphone for the show. Kate chooses five talented women to fill these roles to provide a wonderful evening of entertainment for a very appreciative audience.

Kate blocks the nuns and does the musical staging beautifully. She has them walk into the audience in several scenes, making the audience a part of the show. Some of the dances include a tap-dance and a comic ballet scene. The nuns old fashioned habits are by Em Stern, Molly Kaufmann and Priscilla Wimpress while the stage manager also known as Sister Merry Manager, who keeps things running smoothly all night long is Denise Betz . Playing Sister Mary Regina, the Mother Superior is veteran actress, Cindy Killavey who commands the stage as the authority figure. Regina was a former circus performer and she does a very funny tight rope walking imitation in "Turn Up the Spotlight". Cindy obtains many laughs during her Rush scene where she sniffs this bottle and gets high from it. She also does a great job in the cooking with the BVM scene where she has many funny one-liners. One of her funny one liners includes calling the 8th Grade show Vaseline instead of "Grease". Act 1 ends with a kick-line to "Turn Up the Spotlight". Cindy also mentions that the lilacs used in the show were sent to her from her friends at Newport Playhouse. The second in command, Sister Hubert, the Mistress of the Novices, is played by Trish Culver. She has some funny scenes with Regina where she constantly insults her and they have a comic duet called "Just a Coupl'a Sisters". But it is the 11th hour number of the show called "Holier Than Thou" that brings the house down. It is a gospel type of song and mentions many saints who they sing about in it.

Two of the zaniest nuns in this show are Robert Ann and Amnesia. The streetwise nun from Brooklyn , Sister Robert Ann is played by Tanya Keirnon. She is a hoot with her habit humor. Tanya imitates Attilla the nun, Heidi, Pippi Longstocking, Princess Leia and Katherine Hepburn. She also sells her three songs wonderfully, "Playing Second Fiddle", where she sings about always being the understudy nun, "Growing Up Catholic" where she tells about her tough childhood in Brooklyn and "I Just Wanna Be a Star" where she finally gets to strut her stuff for the audience. Cheryl Cox keeps the crowd in stitches as Sister Amnesia, the nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head. She is hilarious in "So You Want to Be a Nun" number which she does with her puppet, Sister Mary Annette, who is played by Pamela Kopplin(she is made up to look like a puppet with heavy rouge on her cheeks. Luckily she remembers who she is during her "I Could Have Gone to Nashville" song and helps save the nun's fundraiser from being ruined. Cheryl also does a great job with the quiz about their order where I won a St Christopher's prayer for motorists. Rounding out this cast is Myles Winter as Sister Mary Leo, the novice who wants to be a ballerina nun. She does an comic ballet to "Benedicite" and gets to show off a comic dance in the Dying Nun ballet. (Cheryl, Myles and Pamela appear onstage in their debut performances in this show.) An added treat is free recipe books by the nuns in the show for audience members. So for a wonderful rendition of this well known show, be sure to catch "Nunsense" in Portsmouth before time runs out.

"Nunsense" (15 - 19 April)
PORTSMOUTH COMMUNITY THEATER
Aquidneck Island Christian Academy, 321 East Main Road, PORTSMOUTH RI
1 (401)683-1460

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