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Review: Nunsense at Nash Theatre

By Josie Montano

Nash Theatre’s second production for 2019, delivered us (from evil) a musical comedy sensation based on the works of Dan Goggin. Before Nunsense the cabaret musical became a huge success in America it was originally in the format of greeting cards, where a nun showcased extremely sharp satire.

This show is literally about putting on a show, and we, the audience are the audience of that show and were directly involved every step of the way. To lessen the confusion we just had to make-believe that we were in the auditorium of the fictional Mount St Helen’s School.

Unfortunately Sister Julia’s vichyssoise soup poisoned fifty-two nuns, of which forty-eight are already dead and buried with four more sitting in the freezer. Yet with the coffers empty, the remaining Little Sisters of Hoboken need to hold an appeal to raise funeral funds to finish burying their fellow sisters. Five of the sisters decide to put on the variety show in the school hall, and we were all invited to help answer their prayers. The motley crew of characters consist of a former circus performer who loves the spotlight, a competitive rival, a streetwise Brooklyn nun, a novice who’s dream is to be the world’s first ballerina nun and the childlike ditzy nun who lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head.

The Director Brenda White, executed an outstanding delivery with a full program of entertainment that included singing solos, group songs as well as dance routines, choreographed by Melissa Beilby. A fun tap number was danced by Rachel Matthews and my favourite act being the Wartime song by the Saint Andrews Sisters, starring the melodic harmonies of Emily McCormick, Meg Bennett and Sarah Willoughby. The extremely talented Musical Director Stuart Crisp, played lively piano throughout and this didn’t seem an easy feat as the songs kept rolling out, but Stuart made it appear seamless and fun as he interacted with the characters. Special mention goes to triple-threat Emily McCormick who played the endearing Sister Amnesia, as well as wrangling an ill-mannered sock puppet. Colleen Crisp who played the lead role of Reverend Mother Superior Sister Mary Regina, only recently had a health setback which did not hinder her performance at all. The evening’s spotlight operator, Tim Oxley also joined in on the fun as Brother Myopia from the back of the room. The only critique is that at times, the voices were either lacking projection, or they dissipated as the actors went upstage – it would just bring the performances to another level if the theatre was able to acquire wireless microphones.

At the conclusion of the show, the wonderful Nash Theatre volunteers and members affectionately known as Nashies, lavished the audience with a delectable supper served up on a long rectangular table laden with food … not unlike the last supper. On a cool Brissie evening, we were very grateful to have been warmed with Sister Julia’s (thankfully non-poisonous) famous ‘vichyssoise’ soup.

Nunsense is as original to musical comedy as it comes, where laughter and song intertwine to produce a crazy mad-cap revue. I highly recommend you catch this fun evening of music, dance and ‘anything goes’ at the Brunswick Room, Merthyr Road Uniting Church, New Farm before their strictly limited season ends on the 1st June …. and especially before those nuns in the freezer thaw out!

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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