Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Pike Road: "Nunsense"

A perennial favorite, Dan Goggin's musical comedy Nunsense has been staged frequently in the River Region since its 1985 Off-Broadway debut, the latest spirited iteration being staged by the Pike Road Theatre Co., directed and choreographed by James Keith Posey.

In it, five of the Little Sisters of Hoboken are planning a fund-raising talent show. It seems that some 56 of their convent were accidentally poisoned, having consumed tainted vichyssoise prepared by one of the nuns. They had buried 52 of them when Mother Superior [Jan Roeton] purchased a state-of-the-art television and they ran out of money. The four remaining corpses have been literally "on ice" till now. -- Imagine what happens next.

Mother Superior hogs the spotlight, though competitive Sister Hubert [Tara Fenn] and streetwise Brooklynite Sister Robert Anne [Michon R. Givens] both vie for attention and higher places in the talent show and in the convent's hierarchy. Novice Sister Leo [Tiffany Presley] always wanted to be a ballerina, and wacky Sister Amnesia [Savannah Bowden] -- her name tells you most of what you need to know -- also performs with a foul-mouthed puppet.

That's the set-up; there's very little else in the plot...but the evening is really about entertainment, a number of Dad-jokes, some audience participation that goes on a bit too long, all of which demonstrate the assorted talents of this able ensemble of actors.

Individually and as a group, they continually ramp up the energy and commitment with dynamic showcasing of their talents in some 18 songs [and quite lot of dance as well], engaging the audience at every turn.

Goggin affords each character some moments to shine, and each member of the company takes the spotlight confidently in character, and in good voice. -- Ms. Roeton amps up the energy in "Turn up the spotlight"; Ms. Presley's charming "Benedicte" endears us to her; Ms. Bowden's "So you want to be a nun" and "I could've gone to Nashville" are hilarious and heart-rending in turn; Ms. Givens steals the show with "Growing up Catholic" and "I just want to be a star"; and Ms. Fenn brings down the house with "Holier than thou".

Another enjoyable production of Nunsense puts the Pike Rod Theatre Co. firmly on the local map.