Presented by LynnArts After Hours
by Dan Goggin
Directed by Kevin Cirone
Choreographed by Nicole Spirito
Music directed by Mario Cruz,
Rantoul Black Box Theatre
25 Exchange Street
Lynn, MA 01901
March 7th – March 23rd, 2013
Lynn Arts After Hours Facebook Page
Review by Craig Idlebrook
(Lynn) Traditional nuns make such easy targets for comedy, dressed so imposingly and yet looking so much like penguins. Dan Goggin, the creator of the Nunsense series, makes comedic scriptwriting look easy when nuns get involved; his scripts read like a group of friends began to one-up each other over drinks to devise funny scenes about nuns. If nuns are funny, the script seems to say, then nuns at a leper colony are funnier. If leperous nuns are funny, then nuns getting high are even funnier. And if nuns getting high don’t give you a case of the guffaws, then nothing beats a bunch of dead nuns in the freezer.
That’s the contrived plot for Nunsense, and its spin-off, Nunsense A-Men (“No…do you know what would be really funny? Nuns in drag!”): A group of nuns who survived a nasty bout of food poisoning must host a show to raise money to send the less-fortunate dead nuns in the freezer to their holy reward. The surviving nuns seem to have taken the serenity prayer to heart; they don’t seem the least bothered emotionally by the demise of their fellow sisters. Instead, the play seems to suggest, all nuns are born hams and they bicker over who gets to be in the spotlight throughout the show.
A Nunsense show works best when it maintains a casual and thrown-together feel; luckily, that’s the going motif for Arts After Hours shows this year, following on the successful footsteps of Evil Dead: the Musical. In this production, the all-male cast has a harder time finding that improvisatory feel than in the aforementioned splatter-fest, but they still hit the right notes most of the time. Not only are the men generally comfortable in their habits, but they feel right at home improvising with the crowd and dealing with props that go awry. Those looking for fully-rounded characters on stage should check their disbelief at the door. In this show, accents come and go, motivations remain murky and baritones and basses seem to dominate the chorus at the convent.
Still, the cast enjoy themselves, and we can’t help but enjoy ourselves alongside them, and what this production lacks in polish it makes up for in spirit and good cheer. Unless you are both Catholic and easily-offended, you’ll find this nuns-on-the-run show an enjoyable mishmash.