Also see John's review of Stomp
The original production of Nunsense premiered in Manhattan at the Duplex Cabaret in 1983. It later moved in an expanded version to the Cherry Lane Theatre where it won four Outer Critics Awards including Best Off-Broadway Musical. It later moved to the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre and completed an Off-Broadway run of over ten years. The success of the original Nunsense propelled author Dan Goggin to create what followed in his canon: Sister Amnesia's Country Western Nunsense Jamboree, Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical, Nunsense 2: The Second Coming, Meshuggah Nuns and Nunsense A -Men.
In this chapter of the Nunsense saga, five members of The Little Sisters of Hoboken travel to Las Vegas, Nevada. There, one of their parishioners from back in New Jersey has arranged for them to put on a show in "The Pump Room Lounge." These selfless sisters are not seeking fame and fortune for themselves from this performance, but rather the $10,000 they have been promised for their school for doing the show. Sisters Mary Regina, Mary Hubert, Robert Anne, Mary Paul and Mary Leo face the perils of sin in the very heart of "Sin City" itself - Las Vegas. Will the sisters remain unscathed by their brush with temptation and debauchery, or will what happens in Vegas have to stay in Vegas?
Author Dan Goggin is understandably challenged to write a sequel to Nunsense that retains the freshness and flavor of the original. Nunsensations! - The Nunsense Vegas Revue is a slightly stale and bland installment to this otherwise entertaining series. The two weakest moments of the show are ill timed as the closer to act one, the random "Cirque Du Blimp," and the closer to act two, the "YMCA" rip-off "Take The Money And Run." The show has some enjoyable comic and musical moments, but the script is surprisingly thin. A thin script can work as a character study in the hands of talented character actresses. Some of Goggin's cast are up to this challenge, and some are not.
A great Vegas lounge room by set designer Barry Axtell is just right for our sisters to launch their new revue, and some entertaining costume pieces and a "Holly Rollers Game" wheel are good for a laugh. Carolyn Droscoski is hilarious as Sister Robert Anne - our ex-hoodlum from the Bronx. Her song "Why Sing A Ballad?" as the eleven o'clock number in the show is the highlight of the evening. Her strong comic timing plays well with that of Susan Goeppinger as the more somber Reverend Mother. Ms. Goeppinger is polished and personable as the Reverend Mother Mary Regina. Along with a talented Jeanne Tinker as the zany Sister Mary Paul (Amnesia), they deftly carry the comic portions of the show.
Bambi Jones is missing the meaty singing voice and sassy attitude rightfully associated with Sister Mary Hubert. Her performance feels forced, formal and over-rehearsed. Carrie Keskinen turns in a puzzling performance as Sister Mary Leo. The last 30 seconds of her song "I Left Him There" is lovely. Aside from that, however, she seems to have no grasp of the character or what to do with herself on stage when she is not singing or dancing. Her acting is close to painful. The die hard Nunsense fan may enjoy this visit with old friends but find it lacking in the luster of the previous portions of the Nunsense phenomenon.
Nunsensations! - The Nunsense Vegas Revue will be appearing at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre from September 26, 2007 - October 7, 2007. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is a 550-seat, nonprofit, community-based Equity regional theatre belonging to the League of Resident Theatres. This theatre employees both local and non-local Equity and non-union cast and crew members. The theatre is located at 1001 Indiantown Rd. (just off of A1A) in Jupiter, FL. Show times are Tuesday - Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m.. For tickets to this show, and complete information on the theatre's offerings, you may contact them by phone at 561/ 575-3332 or 800/ 445-1666, and on line at www.jupitertheatre.org.
*Designates member of Actor's Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.