Nunsense Book, Music and lyrics by Dan Goggin
Directed by Kristin Towers-Rowles
Choreography by Lisaun Whittingham
For those of you who have never heard of this hugely successful, multi award winning musical, you finally have the joyous and hilarious “Nunsense” literally on your doorstep at the wonderful Crown City Theatre.
Although I have of course heard of “Nunsense," I must shamefully admit that this is the first time I have had the pleasure of actually seeing the show. Shameful? Absolutely, because this is one of the most enjoyable evenings I have ever spent at the theatre!
The show is just spectacular, the cast brilliant and the fact that they had only three weeks to pull the whole thing together, nothing short of ‘miraculous’.
The story is that five of the 19 surviving Little Sisters of Hoboken, having lost the other 52 of their sisters to some rancid vichyssoise made by their own cook, are putting on a variety show to raise the money to bury the final four nuns as their previous fundraising fell slightly short and they had to resort to popping the poor dears in the freezer…temporarily.
So here we all are at the local high school, the sisters on stage, us, the audience immediately drawn into the drama and the farce as the nuns themselves walk among us and Mother Superior glowers in our general direction while trying to hold on to some modicum of control.
The songs are marvelous, the voices of these beyond wonderful actresses soar to the rafters and fill our hearts with love and laughter and the kind of spirit that all this shopping and wrapping and stressing over Christmas ‘stuff’ just can never provide.
I am English, and therefore a little more restrained than my adorable American family. But even I, in my awkward and slightly embarrassed way, was stomping my feet and clapping my hands and even, and I am blushing to think of it, singing along.
Yes this is the play to see if you need a shot of adrenalin, an injection of the holy and happy spirit and if you love a singing and dancing nun…and, lets face it, who doesn't?
To pick out individual performances is frankly unnecessary, everyone was so incredibly good. All these wonderful characters, so different from one another and still so genuinely connected to each other and the story, is so well drawn and sympathetically acted that we all fall under that magical spell that live theatre at its best can weave so well.
All these nuns are jostling for the spotlight, all harboring secret longings for the stage, which of course adds to the hilarity and the fun. Mother Superior (Michelle Holmes) tries to maintain her ‘superiority’ until she discovers a bottle of “Rush” in the girls locker room and succumbs to its effects. Sister Mary Amnesia (Kelley Dorney) is also wonderful as the young nun who received a blow to the head by a falling crucifix and can no longer remember her name. There is Sister Mary Leo (Shayna Gabrielle) who longs to be the world's first nun ballerina, and Sister Robert Ann (Lisa Dyson) who’s so desperate to perform she takes every opportunity she can to show off, and Sister Mary Hubert,(Renee Cohen) Mother Superior’s right hand nun, who’s gospel power rivals our Lady Aretha’s.
All these ladies have their moments in the spotlight in the end, and some…and they are all just terrific.
I wanted to stand up and whoop and holler, “I’ll buy you a coffin or two!” But of course my Englishness thankfully prevented me. But “Nunsense” is that kind of show. It picks you up and shakes you around and makes you want to dance. And what more can we want from a musical than passion and laughter and fun?
Well done all you gorgeous ladies!!
Oh and William A Reilly who brilliantly accompanies them all.
I strongly and joyously recommend “Nunsenes” at the Crown City Theatre.
Crown City Theatre, 11031 Camarillo Street (on the campus of St. Matthew’s Church), North Hollywood.
Fri.-Sat., 8 p.m., Sun., 3 p.m. Dark December 25. through to January 17th
(818) 605-5685 or www.crowncitytheatre.com. Running time: 2 hours with one intermission
Michelle Holmes - Reverend Mother
Renee Cohen - Sister Hubert
Lisa Dyson - Sister Robert Anne
Kelley Dorney - Sister Mary Amnesia
Shayna Gabrielle - Sister Mary Leo
Lighting Design - Zad Potter
Costume Design - Tanya Apuya
Assisted Choreography - Michael Marchak
Art Design - Daniel Arpaia