Review: NUNSENSE 2; THE SECOND COMING at TADA Theatre

What did our critic think of NUNSENSE 2; THE SECOND COMING at TADA Theatre?

By: Feb. 12, 2024
Review: NUNSENSE 2; THE SECOND COMING at TADA Theatre
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If you enjoy nonsense, you will love NUNSENSE 2: THE SECOND COMING playing at TADA Theatre in the historic Creamery Building in Lincoln, Nebraska. Watch five nuns cavort, sing, and toss around zingers. Then afterwards, treat yourself to an ice cream downstairs.

NUNSENSE was written entirely by Dan Goggin—-book, music and lyrics. This one man created musical comedy was originally intended as a line of greeting cards. Eventually, Goggin turned it into a two hour musical production that opened Off Broadway in 1985, becoming the second longest running Off Broadway production.

The story line is ridiculous…in a good way. Five nuns decide to raise funds for their order after 52 residents of their convent die of food poisoning. There are four bodies in the freezer that need to be buried. Selling greeting cards raised the necessary funds, but Mother Superior Mary Regina blew the money on a Smart TV. The nuns decide to put on a variety show to recover their losses.

Then comes NUNSENSE 2…the sisters are back with a thank you program on the Mount Saint Helens school’s SOUTH PACIFIC set. They’ve been bitten by the “theatre flea,” and want more time on stage in front of a talent scout that is reportedly in attendance. Phone calls from the Health Department and visits from the Franciscans who are out to claim the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes prize money won by Sister Mary Amnesia add pandemonium to the already chaotic sisterhood.

In order to successfully carry out a show based on corny jokes and slapstick, you need a cast able to commit themselves fully to their characters. Directed by Bob Rook, the five actors in TADA’s production wholeheartedly jump in with an impressive level of enthusiasm and energy. They seem to enjoy themselves 100 percent, which translates to an appreciative audience. While most of the humor in this show is not funny to me, I enjoyed the performances of these ladies.

Judy Anderson (Sister Mary Regina), Delene Mcconnaha (Sister Mary Hubert), Melissa Walburn (Sister Robert Anne), Cris Rook (Sister Mary Paul—also called Sister Mary Amnesia because a crucifix fell on her head and caused temporary memory loss), and Lilly Frields (Sister Mary Leo) make for a delightful group of nuns, similar in their habits, but unique in their personalities and their shoes.

What I especially liked in this production was the harmony of the voices, credit going to Musical Director Cris Rook. In the opening number the voices created an almost heavenly sound, blending and soaring. Additional numbers include a little country, a little gospel, and even some singalong numbers.  Audience reaction was particularly favorable to Walburn’s rendition “I Am Here to Stay.” 

I found the number, “The Biggest Still Ain’t the Best,” to be representative of TADA Theatre, a quaint space that holds 54 seats. Although it isn’t the biggest, this little community theatre has something for everyone. Their motto is “The little theatre doing big things for the performing arts.” TADA has been recognized by the community with a Mayor’s Arts Award, and an Impact Award for Downtown Development. In his introductory remarks, Director Bob Rook, who is in his 36th year of directing, talked about the negative impact of COVID on local theatre companies and his fight to keep them open. As humorous as the show itself, Rook elicited laughter from the audience and started the show off in the right mood.

For ticketing information, visit www.tadatheatre.info. The show runs through February 25 with performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm. The run is sold out, but give it a try. You may be as lucky as Sister Mary Paul, who won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes!


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