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New Jersey by Bob Rendell

Nunsense II: The Little Sisters of Hoboken
Make a Return Visit to Morristown

Also see Bob's review of Playboy of the Western World


The Cast
Last summer, five surviving nuns from the Little Sisters of Hoboken came to the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum where they performed their variety show Nunsense in order to raise funds to pay the burial costs of four of their number who had died from botulism poisoning from accidentally tainted vichyssoise by their cook (forty-eight others who also had been so stricken had already been buried).

These show business loving sisters have returned to the Bickford in order to perform their new musical comedy variety show, Nunsense II: The Second Coming as a thank you to the audiences of the Bickford for their help during the sisters' time of trouble.

We are kept abreast of some strange (what else?) off-stage complications which are effecting the plucky sisters—the Franciscans are claiming Sister Mary Amnesia—and her Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes winning windfall. Yet, of all the Nunsense shows, Nunsense II may have the lightest book.

Sophisticated humor and music are not on the table here. Those who have neither the time nor the patience for hokey, low brow humor, simple, but melodious and lively pastiche music, and poignant sentimentality hardly need anyone to tell them that Nunsense II is not for them. Most others will find Nunsense delightful entertainment. It is certainly being expertly served up in this production.

As always, the book, music and lyrics are provided by Dan Goggin. As the solo creator of the entire Nunsense canon, Goggin has never let his audiences down, showing an uncanny touch for amusing puns, naughty double entendres, and characters of endearing silliness.

Nunsense II's Bickford director, Eric Hafen, is perfectly attuned to every nuance and all the felicity of Goggins' creation. The excellent players, all of who performed here in Nunsense last summer, are back for Nunsense II. In fact, the nuns on stage are so excellent and secure in their roles that I was surprised to note that their Bickford showcase is a local, stand alone production and not a stop on a long run tour.

Gwendolyn F. Jones as Sister Mary Regina, the Reverend Mother and former circus performer, delightfully struts the stage singing the warm and triumphant "Look Ma, I Made It." Geraldine Leer is Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices and self styled rival to Mary Regina. Her musical advice to Sister Mary Leo, "The Biggest Still Ain't the Best," is delightful.

Kristen Michelle is outstanding as Sister Mary Paul (Amnesia). She has remembered that she was once a country singer and delights with her country western song, "The Country Nun" which she sings along with her puppet friend, Sister Marion-ette. Amanda Yachechak as Sister Mary Leo, the novice nun fresh out of ballet school, delightfully sings, dances and skates her way through the lilting and rhythmic "The Prima Ballerina." Kate Mott is funny and appealing as the rough hewn product of the Brooklyn Streets, Sister Robert Anne. Her "Angeline" is quite touching.

So hold on to the bingo card you will be given as you enter the theatre (you will get the opportunity to play it), and settle in for a fun afternoon or evening with Nunsense II.

Nunsense II continues performances (Evenings: Friday & Saturday 8 PM/ Matinees: Thursday & Sunday 2 PM) through June 23, 2013, at the at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, New Jersey 07960, Box Office: 973-971-3706; online: www.bickfordtheatre.org.

Nunsense II Book, Music and Lyrics by Dan Goggin; directed by Eric Hafen

Cast
Rev. Mother Mary Regina…….Gwendolyn F. Jones
Sister Mary Hubert…………………...Geraldine Leer
Sister Mary Amnesia………………..Kristen Michelle
Sister Mary Leo………………….Amanda Yachechak
Sister Robert Anne………………………….Katie Mott


Be sure to Check the current schedule for theatre in New Jersey


- Bob Rendell



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