Regional Reviews: Albuquerque/Santa Fe
Nunsense 2: The Second Coming
Also see Stephanie's review of Greater Tuna
This time around, the Little Sisters are putting on a show to thank all of those audience members who helped them with their money problems after Sister Julia inadvertently poisoned 52 of their order with bad vichyssoise. Burial expenses, you know. Then Sister Mary Amnesia (Jessica Osbourne) remembered that she had won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes under her real name of Sister Mary Paul, and that solved everything.
Now, the Franciscans are saying that Sister Mary Paul is one of them and they want her backwith all of the prize money. That crazy plot takes place offstage and is reported on by the five sisters as they perform for us while battling to keep Amnesia with them.
A series of skits, musical numbers, dances, "habit" bits, innuendo, and broad jokes ensue, all based on the nuns' love of the limelight.
Albuquerque's got talent. Osbourne is at her most adorable, singing country western and church soprano with equal vigor and believability. She's also an accomplished ventriloquist as she manipulates her cigarette-smoking sidekick Sister Mary Annette (get it?). Just try not to giggle along with this actor. It's impossible.
Angela Littleton has proper presence and gravitas as Reverend Mother Sister Mary Reginauntil she gets drunk with Sister Mary Hubert (Lisa Fenstermacher) and bares her, um, soul. Novice Sister Mary Leo (Elena Warden) wants to be a ballerina-nun and has the toe shoes and the chops to pull it off, if not Reverend Mother's permission. Warden is new to plays but can be seen regularly in improv, and she already has a mature style and graceful physicality. Let's see more of her.
And then, of course, we always thank the Creator for Lisa Fenstermacher and Bridget Kelly. Kelly's Sister Robert Anne is from the streets of Brooklyn, with the proper accent, and never breaks character as the tough-but-tender nun. She walks, talks and wears sneakers like a gym teacher. Her solo "I Am Here to Stay" is touching and well sung.
Fenstermacher's special brand of wackiness is a combination of comic timing and a real sense of ensemble. She gets the best out of her sister actors whenever she's onstage, without overwhelming the scene. Her rendition of "There's Only One Way to End Your Prayers (and That's to Say Amen!)" is rousing and joyful, a perfect ending to an energetic evening.
The set is colorful and takes full advantage of the Aux Dog's stage. Professional musical and vocal direction by Nathaniel Flake and stage direction by Tim Crofton, with choreography by Kir Kipness, add oodles to the entire experience. It's vaudeville with all the trimmings and then some. Go in peace.
Through August 6, 2017, Friday-Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2 p.m., Aux Dog Theatre Nob Hill, 3011-3015 Monte Vista Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM, (505) 254-7716, auxdog.com