BWW Review: Divine Comedy is Found in NUNSENSE at Terrific New Theatre
"Nunsense" at Terrific New Theatre is a spirit rousing performance that brings much joy to the heart. The comedy beats play out smoothly with snappy one-liners and pep similar to dialogue of the Marx Brothers. The glue of "Nunsense" is an abundance of fun classic vaudeville. Director and choreographer Pat Anderson-Flowers helped these ladies of the Lord deliver a steady pace of a truly divine comedy.
The focused character work of the cast holds the audience in laughter right from the start. This Sister act is led by comical ringleader Sister Mary Regina (Kristin Staskowski), who is ready for her close up. Sister Mary Hubert (Theo Edwards-Butler) gives rapid-fire witty humor. Sister Robert Anne (Elise Mayfield) is a Brooklyn born comedy dynamo that loves the spotlight. Sister Mary Leo (Darby Burgess) is longing to lace up her ballet shoes. Last but not least is the doe-eyed, consistently forgetful Sister Mary Amnesia (Melanie Hollenstein). These talented ladies give performances that showcase powerful voices and comedy timing.
The five Sisters are in a jam due to an accidentally fatal meal prepared by Sister Julia, Child of God. Fifty two of the nuns have met an untimely demise to due food poisoning. To cover the unexpected funeral expenses, the remaining four Sisters are aflutter rushing to put up a benefit variety show in a school auditorium. The audience gets to enjoy a front row seat to the shenanigans during the Sisters rehearsal. The nuns sing, joke it up and dance. While frequently breaking the fourth wall to engage with the audience, this approachable cast makes "Nunsense" funny and lighthearted. You'll feel as if you are at a live Las Vegas style variety show. Writer and composer Dan Goggin created energetic musical numbers in various styles like the Andrew Sisters, Shirley Caesar, Loretta Lynn and Avenue Q.
The location is the humble auditorium of the Mount Saint Helen's School. The sisters are hurriedly making adjustments for the children have already been setting up for a production of "Grease". Set designers Kevin Thomas and Kenneth Patterson made a great set that is full of Catholic school architecture sprinkled with 50's décor fitting for the T-Birds and Pink Ladies.
At this time in the service I'd like to pass the plate around for the Mount St. Helen's Band. The energetic trio backs up the Sisters with tight arrangements and funny supplemental comedy dialogue. Music director Jay Tumminello on the keyboard, Maury Levine on drums and Taylor Propp on bass.
The cast seems to have just as much fun performing as the audience is watching. "Nunsense" is bright and cheerful show from beginning to end. The music and comedy are memorable. You'll be singing out the door.
Terrific New Theatre and Patty McDonald
By Dan Goggin
Directed by Pat Anderson-Flowers
Sister Mary Regina - Kristin Staskowski
Sister Mary Hubert - Theo Edwards-Butler
Sister Robert Anne - Elise Mayfield
Sister Mary Leo - Darby Burgess
Sister Mary Amnesia - Melanie Hollenstein
Jan 18 - Feb 10, 2018
Thu/Fri/Sat - 8pm
Sunday Matinees - Jan 28 & Feb 4 at 2:30pm
Terrific New Theatre - 2821 2nd Ave S. (at Pepper Place) Birmingham, AL
For tickets and more info: terrificnewtheatre.com or (205) 328-0868