One of no less than three versions of Dan Goggins’ musical on at the Fringe this year, we chose the American High School Theatre Festival’s production of Nunsense as we had high expectations that it would be of a good standard, and suitable entertainment for our teenage reviewer who is beginning to find the array of specific children’s entertainment just a little tame.
We arrived a little early for the production at Pilrig Studios, so were shown past the church pews in the main church to wait in a little coffee room set up to provide refreshments to visitors. The church had some decorations draped over the pews, and we had some expectation that the show was going to be staged in the church itself, but we were in due course ushered up to the studios in the upper part of the church.
The premise of the production is that the convent the Little Sisters of Hoboken has been decimated, losing the vast majority of its sisters to food poisoning. Five of the remaining sisters stage a musical to raise funds to bury four of their former colleagues who have been kept in the freezer until funds can be raised to pay for their burial.
The five sisters, and two monks who appear occasionally put in an appearance, were all enthusiastic performers who danced and sang their way through a variety of different musical numbers and dance routines. There was some real talent amongst the girls – with two in particular being strong singers. They dealt with comedy, tap dancing, ballet, puppetry and singing with great gusto.
However, we felt that the musical just isn’t really of our time, and the choice of this as material was perhaps not the best vehicle to display the considerable talents of the performers. It was originally written in 1985, and in 2011 it just seems an odd choice of material – although three companies have chosen to perform it this year. Nuns as comic figures and the poking fun at certain aspects of religion just seemed slightly incorrect, and the story line itself just doesn’t make for a very interesting vehicle to deliver a variety performance.
Added comments by Helen (13): “A lot of very talented performers, but I didn’t quite get the story line.”
Review by The McNaughtons
Dates: 9, 11, 12 August @ Pilrig Studio (times vary)