The Little Sisters of Hoboken visit the Danville Village Theatre
What better way to add to a spring of Mormons across the bay, to an order of nuns visiting Tri Valley Rep this May. NUNSENSE by Dan Goggin is a madcap night of vaudeville and fun with a nice supply of puns and catchy songs that keeps the audience smiling. The mix includes a talented cast under the direction of Brian Olkowski, who keeps the show moving from the pre show to the nuns greeting the crowd at the shows end.
Goggin’s spoof first premiered 30 years ago in 1985 as an Off-Broadway hit that ran for over 36,000 performances. Honoring the Nuns as the second-longest running OB show to date. The “NUNSENCE” brand has off springed six versions and three spin offs with another version set to open later this year in Los Angeles.
The story is not plot heavy, but the set up is very funny as the five nuns attempt to raise funds to bury four dead Sisters after they ate some bad convent food. The Sisters set up a benefit variety show and the premise is an irreverent, non-stop ride.
The Sisters, part of a one-time missionary order that ran a leper colony discover that their cook, Sister Julia Child of God, accidentally kills fifty two of their convent residents. The five we meet have been saved while playing bingo and missing that last supper. Mother Superior has run out of funds to bury four of the nuns after buying a plasma TV. The show begins as you walk in the Village theatre to see two of the Sisters greeting the crowd and making sure we are comfortable.
The cast of women are talented, Peggy Coleman plays the Mother Superior Sister Mary Regina. Coleman has the perfect comic timing leading the sisters in the various musical numbers. Sister Regina's’ rival is Sister Mary Hubert played by Shari Oret, they both have very a charming duet called “Just a Couple of Sisters”. Sister Robert Anne, a streetwise nun from Brooklyn with red converse, is very funny and played perfectly by local favorite Suzanne Henry. Sister Mary Leo, a novice who is set to be the world's first ballerina nun, is played by Sarah Sloan. Paula Glanetti fresh from Novato Theatre Company production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, is cast as one of my favorite nuns in this romp, Sister Mary Amnesia. Glanetti who also choreographed this show and is terrific as the clueless nun trying to recall her memory after being struck by a falling crucifix. Glanetti has a couple of solos in the show including the very funny “So You Want To Be A Nun”.
The five sisters are all excellent including the “one nun” orchestra Sister Sierra Nevada, the talented Sierra Dee, Music Director for this team. Dee is in the wings part of the “Grease” set the junior high kids left behind for the sisters to use, designed by Director Olkowski. The Sisters have as much fun as the audience, since frequently we are asked to interact with the nuns as they quiz us, and a few lucky ones get a “holy card”.As you come back for the second act break, you are in the middle of Bingo game that opening night went a bit long, but still entertaining as hosted by Paula Gianetti. The final hour features fun songs including “A Minor Catastrophe” performed by the ensemble, “Just a Coupl’a Sisters” (Oret and Coleman), “I Just Want to be a Star” (Henry), and the fantastic, rousing finale “Holier Than Thou” performed by the cast. I do feel the second act runs long and for me the joke ended in the first act. The cooking sketch is not needed. But a highlight of the final two hours is the short film “the Movie” shot around Danville downtown, its well done.
Olkowski’s direction is hand-clapping as he blended goofy comedy with Catholic school memories. The songs are delivered well and the show never takes itself seriously. Its a great night of fun and it is easy to see why this show has survived 30 years of sold out crowds and so many spin-offs. Congrats to the cast and crew, check out these Sisters and bring your Bingo cards.
Tri-Valley Repertory Theatre Presents:
By Dan Goggin Directed by: Brian Olkowski
Playing at THE VILLAGE THEATRE, 233 Front Street in Danville, CA
May 8th through May 17th, Friday's 8:00pm, Saturdays 2:00pm and 8:00pm and Sunday's 2:00pm
For more information: https://www.trivalleyrep.org/shows/nunsense