Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Nunsense"

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note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Bob Guenthner a k a The Old Grump


reviewed by The Old Grump


by Dan Goggin
director - Scott Gagnon
musical director - Wayne Ward
choreographer - Pam Shapiro

costume designer - Richard Itczak
set designer - Ron Dion

Sister Mary Regina / Mother superior - JoAnne Powers
Sister Mary Hubert - Susan Walsh
Sister Robert Anne - Regina Stillings
Sister Mary Amnesia - Jennifer Condon
Sister Mary Leo - Sarah Consentino

You do not have to be catholic to enjoy this little farce. It may help at times, but it is not a requirement.

The story is about a convent in New Jersey. The Order of the Little Sisters of Hoboken, or the Little Hobos as they are also known. A sister Julia, who is spoken of, but not seen, is the cook. She makes up a delicious Vichyssoise. A small problem occurs. Fifty-two nuns die of food poisoning. If that isn't bad enough, the reverend mother spends some of the money marked for funeral expenses, on an elaborate entertainment center. Now four of the nuns can't be buried. They are placed in the food freezer for safe keeping. the remaining nuns have to go about raising the cash to put the remaining nuns into the ground. A show is planned, Grease, as a way to get the money.

JoAnne is extremely funny as the mother superior. Her scene during which she sniffs a drug called rush is hilarious. Later, she confesses to the audience, that she was a tight rope walker before entering the order.

Susan's job is to keep the reverend mother in line. To soften her actions. Susan has several funny moments. She has always been a favorite of mine. Her development as a comedic actor has added to her stage work.

Regina was appropriately tough as the street wise girl who is devoting her life to the works of the church. Fond memories of her past do plague her at times, but not enough to detour her from her chosen field.

Sarah is a novice nun, still in training. She wanted to be a professional dancer. Her dreams have been pushed aside, but do pop up during the show. The Dying Nun Ballet is an example.

Jennifer was able to keep a blank look in her eyes through out the show. Playing the amnesia victim with great humor. She recovers in the end, finding out that she was a country singer before she joined the order.

Wayne Ward does double duty in this show. He is dressed as a priest, while playing the keyboard, and has a few lines to go with his playing.

The set was not elaborate. We know what the award winning Mr. Dion can do when he is challenged. Phantom and The King + I stand out in my mind.

Richard is also an award winner, although in this show, what can be done to perk up a nuns habit.

Scott is a well known director, and still another award winner. He is not locked in on one type of a play. He can and does direct all, and does well in all.

Pam has the girls using bright feather fans for numbers early and late in the show. Nuns dancing and doing kicks are so funny. Pam is going to step in for Susan later in the run for a weekend. How is a Jewish girl going to portray a nun who teaches novices? If I could spell that Yiddish word for good luck, I would use it.

My one and only disappointment was the size of the audience. Maybe our Patriots, playing at the same time, held it down. I can say, those that were there laughed it up loudly.

"Nunsense" (13 September - 6 October)
283 Melrose Street, NEWTON MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide