Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - Southern

Late Nite Catechism

Mary Beth Burns
Entertainment Events, Inc. presents the cult Catholic comedy Late Nite Catechism at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. Catholic indeed, but this interactive, semi-improvisational, one woman show is sure to amuse even the most devout atheist.

Set in a Catholic school classroom, the theatre audience is the adult Catechism class, and "Sister" is it's teacher. In true Catholic school fashion, our imposing Sister doesn't miss a thing. She quizzes the class, handing out rewards for right answers and reprimands for bad behavior. Audience members wearing short skirts, chewing gum, speaking out of turn, or showing public displays of affection are admonished. But knowing the right answer to a question could win you a set of glow-in-the-dark rosary beads! She shows us a pint sized chair made from rulers she has broken over the knuckles of misbehaved students, and offers condolences to those Public school children whose parents "didn't love them enough to send them to Catholic school." The class is treated to explanations of religious dogma, extravagant stories of the lives of saints, and reminiscences of the good old days. The audience laughs from start to finish.

From her first entrance, actress Mary Beth Burns has the audience in the palm of her hand. Blessed with wonderful comedic timing and the gift of mimicry, she is able to play off the audience members so skillfully that the show simply flies by, and one is sure that Sister could go on for hours. Her image is framed by her conservative habit and wimple, and a classroom set complete with chalkboard, bookcases filled with assorted scholastic and religious paraphernalia, and a three foot tall statue of the Virgin Mary.

Late Nite Catechism was written by Maripat Donovan and Vicki Quade, and was originally produced at the Live Bait Theater in Chicago, where it opened on May of 1993. The role of Sister was originated by playwright Maripat Donovan. She was nominated for the Outer Critics Circle Award in New York for Outstanding Solo Performance, and won the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Solo Performance in Los Angeles for her work in the show. She and fellow playwright Vicki Quade have also completed the sequel to Late Nite Catechism titled Late Nite Catechism 2: Sometimes We Feel Guilty Because We Are Guilty.

This production of Late Nite Catechism ran August 26th and 27th, at the Maltz Jupiter Theater. The theatre is located at 1001 Indiantown Rd.and A1A in Jupiter, Florida. For the Maltz Jupiter Theatre's season information and tickets, you may contact the theatre box office in person, on line at, or by phone at 561/575-3332 or 800/445-1666. The Maltz Jupiter Theatre is a 550-seat, nonprofit, community-based, Equity regional theatre belonging to the League of Resident Theatres.

Sister: Mary Beth Burns

Production Design: Mark Silvia
Production Manager: Steven Harris
Original Staging: Nancy Burkholder

See the current theatre season schedule for southern Florida.

-- John Lariviere

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