North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre’s surprisingly strong community-theater production of Dan Goggin’s 1985 musical comedy, NUNSENSE, which pokes gentle fun at the sisters of the Catholic Church, proved to be a real crowd-pleaser this past Saturday night at NRACT. In fact, every seat was filled and some stools were added at the rear of the theater.
NUNSENSE gives Raleigh Little Theatre regular Alison Lawrence a juicy role to devour as the Rev. Mother Mary Regina, the mother superior of the Little Sisters of Hoboken, whose ranks were decimated when the convent cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally poisoned 52 sisters with botulism-laced vichyssoise soup. When the cost of 52 funerals busts the convent budget, several sisters have to be put on ice until funds can be raised to bury them. Hence, the hastily arranged variety show — set in the auditorium of Mt. St. Helens Catholic School — which is intended as a fundraiser, but turns into a lollapalooza in which some of the sisters figuratively let down their hair, and oh boy, do they.
The Rev. Mother’s onstage crackup is Alison Lawrence as her funniest. Susan Burcham is a hoot as Sister Mary Hubert, the envious Mistress of Novices and a giant thorn in the side of the Rev. Mother Mary Regina.
Aubrey Comperatore is a scream as Sister Robert Anne, a streetwise nun from Brooklyn who brings the house down when she strolls onto the stage wearing a ridiculous fruit-stacked-high hat that would do Carmen Miranda proud.
Romni Rossi is another scene-stealer as the ditzy Sister Mary Amnesia, who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head. Who knew she always wanted to be a country singer until she sings “I Could’ve Gone to Nashville”? Completing this zany cast are Jess Barbour as Sister Mary Leo, a novice who really wants to be a ballerina, and stage manager Alison LaRue as Sister Olivia Catherine Denise (a.k.a. Sister OCD).
Director Yvonne Anderson extracts all the nuggets of humor in this goldmine of a comic script, and choreographer Beth Brody enlivens the proceedings with her daffy dance routines. Musical director and conductor Craig Johnson (piano), Marla Cates (synthesizer), and Jason Rogers (French horn) provide spirited accompaniment for God’s Girls Gone Wild; and scenic designers Mike Anderson and Mikey West and costume designer Debbie West dress the postage-stamp-sized stage and the wisecracking characters to the nines. And a good time was had by all.
North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre presents NUNSENSE Friday-Saturday, Oct. 16-17 and 23-24 and Oct. 30-31, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 18 and 25 and Nov. 1, at 3 p.m. at North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, in the Greystone Village Shopping Center, 7713-51 Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh, North Carolina 27615.
TICKETS: $10 matinees and $15 evenings ($10 matinees and $12 evenings for students and seniors 62+), except $2-per-ticket discount for groups of 15 or more.
BOX OFFICE: 919/866-0228 or info[at]nract.org. SHOW: http://nract.org/NRACT 2009 – 2010 Season.htm. PRESENTER/VENUE: http://nract.org/.
by Robert W. McDowell
Robert McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review of Raleigh, NC. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.
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