It certainly looks like things cannot get any worse for the Little Sisters of Hoboken, New Jersey, when two-thirds of the nuns die from ingesting a tainted soup prepared by Sister Julia (Child of God). When the play opens, the nuns still have four of their dead sisters (Children of God) in the kitchen freezer, the children of the school the nuns run are mounting a socially unacceptable Grease, Sister Mary Regina (Child of God) just invested the money reserved for burying the remaining four sisters on a VCR, Sister Robert Ann (Child of God) is having ego issues, and the New Jersey Board of Health is coming tomorrow to investigate their kitchen (and their freezer!).
In a last-ditch effort to raise the money they need to bury the last four sisters, the nuns decide to stage a tantalizing musical revue of their own. The tension builds, coalesces, and amasses into a surmounting dramatic frenzy – a fight for survival full of peril, heartbreak, death, and destruction!
Well, not really. It’s just a load of nonsense…whoops, I mean Nunsense!
All pathetic jokes aside, the musical – and this particular production of it – are both a lot of fun to watch. Set in what seems to be a little theater or reception hall of their convent, the Wilson Blackbox, though whatever limitations it may normally present for a play staged there, presents a perfect space for PUP’s latest offering, whose staging was spot-on.
Director Cate Adams ’08 expertly manages a very young but talented cast, while choreography by Lindsey Olson ’08 and Marina Olevsky ‘09 added an entirely new dimension to the show, making already funny moments hilarious. One particularly memorable moment was Sister Mary Hubert’s (Irene Moskowitz ’09) interpretive dance which conveyed the side-splitting story of the death of all of her sisters (Children of God).
As soon as the five girls got over opening night jitters, they eagerly assumed their roles. The five nuns each have a distinct sense of character that is often lost in other productions of this show. Amadea Britton ’08 plays a particularly despotic Sister Mary Regina, the head of the convent. Christina Farah ’09 as Sister Mary Leo and Alissa Dubnicki ’09 as Sister Robert Ann both act as excellent supporting members, although Ms. Dubnicki was difficult to hear at times and the break between her chest and head voice was quite pronounced.
Jess Harrop ’08 as Sister Mary Amnesia, however, steals the show. Her vacant stare and her delivery of the (oh how ironic) amnesic nun had the audience in stitches. She completely commanded our attention whenever she was on stage and her voice was both beautiful and perfectly placed with her character.
Light design by Caleb Howe ’08 and set design by Lauren Wang ’08 were simple and effective. The sisters’ (Children of God) interactions with the follow spot operator, the few (intentional!) technical mistakes, and the skilled two-piece band lent a purposely unprofessional air to the production. What else would you expect from a group of nuns forced to sing songs like “Tackle that Temptation with a Time Step?”
The two most unforgettable moments of the night are Sister Mary Amnesia’s hilarious duet with one of the other “sisters” and Sister Mary Regina’s “encounter” with a bottle of glue one of her students keeps in his desk.
This show is a must-see and could even work as a great pre-house parties date (if you want to test the waters that early). Shows continue this week, Thursday, April 27 to Saturday, April 29th at 8 PM, with a 2 PM matinee on the 29th. Tickets are available through the Frist Box Office or at the door to the Wilson Blackbox.