Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Nunsense: The Second Coming"

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entire contents copyright 1998 by Don Gillis

NUNSENSE II - The Second Coming

Sister Mary Regina (Mother Superior)............... Judy Zaborowski
Sister Mary Hubert (Mistress of Novices).............. Sue Staniunas
Sister Robert Anne................................................... Melanie Souza
Sister Mary Paul....................................................... Joetta McKee
Sister Mary Leo...................................................... Lisa Beth Ziniti

Produced and Directed by Chuck PetitBon

Musical Director: David D'Amico
Choreographer: Michael Johnson
Lighting: Amy Thompson
Costume Designer: Marcia PetitBon

Entire Contents copyright 1998 by Don Gillis

Its no surprise to find Dan Goggin, the originator of NUNSENSE, unveiling (hehe) a sequel: "Nunsense II, The Second Coming" at the Mill River Theatre Company in Central Falls. Perhaps what makes this kind of convent comedy so appealing is that it breaks down some kind of social barrier that appeals to the rebel in us. I was taught that nuns are supposed to be good teachers, not song and dance stars. And they're certainly are not expected to tell bawdy jokes. Beware...in this production they do, and have the audience enjoying every minute of it!

For anyone not familiar with the "Nunsense" gang, they are members of "The Order of the Little Sisters of Hoboken" and operate Mount Saint Helen's School, where the show takes place. In NUNSENSE, the stage was being used by the sisters as a benefit to bury 4 nuns out of 52 who instantly died of botulism after gulping vichyssoise soup prepared by Sister Julia (Child of God). The benefit was held on the stage where Mt. Saint Helen's 8th graders were putting on a production of the musical "GREASE". Well, this time the stage is again booked as a "thank you concert for the success of their first benefit" ... ..only this time there on the set of the "Mikado" which is being presented by the Hoboken Music Society.

The show opens with the musical number Nunsense: The Magic Word..followed by a high-speed recap of what happened at the first show, narrated by Sister Mary Hubert (Sue Staniunas). This is capped off by the upbeat "Winning is Just The Beginning". The program proceeds with Sister Mary Paul (Joetta McKee) also know as Amnesia---the nun who has been hit on the head with a crucifix. This time sister has the audience playing BINGO... only something goes wrong and the entire audience is in for a surprise at the call of B15 .(You got to be there to see this one!)

The show continues with Sister Mary Leo (Lisa Beth Ziniti) on roller skates, with Sister Hubert once again warning Sister Leo of the pitfalls ahead in The Biggest Still Ain't Best, and with Sister Robert Anne (Melanie Souza) grabbing a couple of props from "The Mikado" production and appearing as Madame Butterfly!.

These irritations aside, Reverend Mother (Judy Zaborowski) feels everything is going well until she presents Sister Mary Paul...complete with sequined scapular, cowboy boots, and Sister Mary Annette (her puppet- lots of belly laughs here!)). Then the telephone rings....its the Franciscans on their way over to claim Sister Mary Paul as one of their own!

Reverend Mother sends Robert Anne to the convent to try to reason with the Franciscans while the other sisters try to calm Sister Mary Paul. Reverend Mother continues center stage with stories from her days in the circus with a wonderful solo "Look, Ma I Made It!". The others follow with The Padre Polka calling for women priest!!

Sister Robert Anne returns telling the sisters that she has convinced the Franciscans to take only the prize money and leave Sister Mary Paul. Reverend Mother and Sister Hubert then sing "The Classic Queen--- one of the funniest pieces you will see!! Rounding out the first act, the five nuns sing "A Hat and Cane Song".

The second half of the program begins with Robert Anne (by popular demand) performing some new impressions with her veil. Meanwhile, the Franciscans have arrived backstage to retrieve Sister Mary Paul!!. The sisters present a plan to make back the soon-to-be-lost money in "We're the Nuns to Come to When You Go.".

But, trouble mounts as word that Sister Julia ( cross yourself), the convent cook is in jail!. Srs Robert Anne, Leo and Mary Paul head off to bail her out, while Sister Hubert says "If only it were 1962, I'd know exactly what to do." Impersonating a rock 'n' roll star (ELVIS) she sings "What Would Elvis Do". Judy and Sue are wearing dark sunglasses with a white scalf...sing ing the doo -opps of rock-in roll! This number was MY favorite!!

Reverend Mother decides to try to hawk the convent's latest book, The Catholic Guide to Gift Giving.(lots of fun stuff going on here). She is interrupted by news of the Franciscans' return. As Reverend Mother leaves the stage, Sister Robert Anne remains, stealing the spotlight with "I Am Here to Stay".

With Reverend Mother off dealing with the Franciscans, the other sister come back on stage to lead the audience in a sing-along aptly titled" What A Catastrophe". Mother Superior returns. The Franciscans want everything including Sister Mary Paul!. Mary Paul accepts her fate, and sings a beautiful ballad, "No One Cared Like You".

Then, without warning, a birdhouse, which is part of "The Mikado" set falls on Sister Mary Paul's head and jogs her memory. The "Franciscans" are none other than the Health Inspector and his assistant (the sisters' nemesis in the first show) trying to steal the prize money by masquerading as monks. Realizing that Sister Mary Paul and the money are safe, Sister Hubert leads a rousing gospel finale, There's Only One Way to End Your Prayers, and that to say, AMEN!!!

These five talented actresses are a joy to watch, each with there own little "bits" to offer. If I tried to single in on just one it would have been impossible--every one of these women are exceptional! Its an ensemble cast, and these women do an outstanding job--all of them! The audience on opening night gave them a standing ovation! Don't miss this one!

NUNSENSE - The Second Coming ( till 15 November 98)
MILL RIVER DINNER THEATRE
499 High Street, Central Falls, RHODE ISLAND
1 (401) 721-0909


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