Review: Talented cast helps redeem ‘Nunsense’
By Steve Dreyer
The five members of the cast of Moonlight Stage Productions’ “Nunsense” are doing their heavenly best to make the sometimes-clunky off-Broadway comedy musical soar.
All five women in the production have fine singing voices and know how to deliver timely punch lines. The production has several very funny moments but the script, written in 1988, hasn’t aged especially well and could use a little editing and freshening here and there.
That said, the show is worth the drive over to Vista to see the five actors, all Moonlight veterans, do their thing.
The plot focuses on a crisis facing the Little Sisters of Hoboken. Five of the 19 surviving members discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally killed the other 52 residents of the convent with her tainted vichyssoise while they were off playing bingo. The group doesn’t have enough money to bury the final four dead nuns so it is decided by Mother Superior (Sue Bolland), a former high-wire circus performer, to stage a variety show in the Mount Saint Helen School auditorium, which is currently being used for a student production of “Grease.” Assisting her in the effort are her second-in-command, Sister Mary Hubert (Brenda Oen), the street-wise Sister Robert Ann (Rae Henderson), the ballet-loving novice Sister Mary Leo and the dim-witted Sister Mary Amnesia (Sarah Errington).
The show includes 19 songs. Most are intended to be funny, a couple are a little more serious. Errington, as Mary Amnesia, has a very good moment on stage when she and her foul-mouth puppet, Sister Mary Annette, sing “So You Want to be a Nun.” There is also some audience participation at the start of the first and second acts.
The nuns are backed up by a very good four-piece live band, conducted by piano player Lyndon Pugeda. Adding to the night are direction and choreography by Carlos Mendoza and the lighting design of Paul Canaletti Jr.
Tickets range from $22-$30. Purchase online at www.moonlightstage.com or call 760-724-2110.
“Nunsense” opens the 2014 Avo Playhouse Winter Season. Next up is Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit,” Feb. 20 to March 20.
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