BWW Review: NUNSENSE at Sharon Playhouse
On Friday, August 30, 2019, I had the pleasure of seeing the musical comedy NUNSENSE at the Sharon Playhouse in Sharon, CT. With book, music, and lyrics by Dan Goggin, this show provides entertainment enjoyed by the audience from start to finish. Director and choreographer Teri Gibson brings out the best in this talented cast of five actresses.
This is a show within a show, set in a school, on a stage prepared for a school production of Grease. The bathroom doors on either side of the stage within the stage serve as the entrance and exit points. Since it is a show within a show, the audience is the audience for the show within the show, thus shattering the concept of the fourth wall, even to the point where the talented three piece live band led by Eric Thomas Johnson becomes characters in the show within the show. The plot is that five nuns of the Little Sisters of Hoboken perform a talent show, hoping to raise revenue to bury four other sisters who passed away due to botulism.
Dan Goggin breaks from conventional writing styles in that the inciting incident (many nuns die and they can't afford to bury four of them) occurs as part of the exposition, in a show with a linear time frame, a show with numerous songs that are not directly relevant to the plot line, yet still all manage to fit in brilliantly.
The acts in the talent show include singing, dancing, impressive spinning on one foot, and a ventriloquist act featuring the puppet Sister Mary Annette (say that name out loud, associate it with a puppet, and think about it.)
Actresses Mary Stout, Bambi Jones, Kimberly Chesser, Jeanne Tinker, and Krista Kurtzberg all excel in their respective roles of Sister Mary Regina, Sister Mary Hubert, Sister Robert Anne, Sister Mary Amnesia, and Sister Mary Leo. Their delivery and stage chemistry with each other is superb.
The comedic highlight comes when Sister Mary Regina inhales something she should not have inhaled, a scene that Mary Stout performs to its maximum.
The musical highlight is the song, "Growing Up Catholic," a slower song, predominantly performed by Sister Robert Anne, a song that breaks from the comedic mood and takes on a more serious tone, addressing what Sister Robert Anne seems to perceive as increased doctrinal confusion following the Mass switching from Latin to English, coupled with a longing for the black and white clearly understood rules that were less ambiguously communicated (at least from her perspective) when she grew up.
Will they get the money they need? If so, how? Come to the show to find out!
I highly recommend NUNSENSE which is scheduled to continue to run at the Sharon Playhouse in Sharon, CT, through September 15, 2019. For time and tickets, please go to https://www.sharonplayhouse.org/.