“Nunsense” – Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre

This review aired on KBAQ May 10, 2010


Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre
Mesa, AZ

Feature Elizabeth Loos in anything and a hit show will result.  Loos is the reigning Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre star and her latest triumph is “Nunsense.”  This is the original show about a convent who must find the financing to bury several dead nuns who died because of food poisoning.

There have been several rip-offs of “Nunsense” but the original remains the funniest.  That’s especially true with a stellar production like the Broadway Palm has mounted.  Not only is Loos a great comedienne, but the other performers are also hysterical in their own idiosyncratic roles.  Smartly directed by M. Seth Reines, Broadway Palm’s artistic producer, cleverly choreographed by Dottie Lester-White, and joyously musically directed by JR McAlexander, “Nunsense” zips along with entertaining zeal.

The Dan Goggin musical is simple and direct.  Broadway Palm has moved the show’s setting to the Little Sisters of Apache Junction where the nunnery chef, Sister Julia – Child of God, created a tainted soup that killed 52 nuns.  A few nuns were off playing bingo so they missed the fateful concoction but they’ve run out of money to complete the burials.  Head nun, Sister Mary Regina, played with over-the-top comedic delight by Loos, plans a talent show to raise the necessary funds.  Having the remaining nuns do a series of wacky songs and other entertaining nonsense forms the show’s merriment.

Each of the other four nuns, Sister Robert Anne, the nun who wants a solo, the none-too-humble Sister Mary Leo, Sister Mary Hubert, the Mistress of Novices, and Sister Mary Amnesia, who can’t remember who she is, form the troupe.  Each does solo routines and several joint numbers that tickle the funny bone and provide great amusement.

Loos keeps the floundering little group together with a combination of stalwart determination, a bit of furor, and sharp discipline but all is handled in a loving way.  The nuns’ individual foibles, weaknesses, lapses, and silliness are all pleasantly playful and engagingly silly.  There’s some loving slaps at the Church, its doctrine, its rigid rules, but there’s nothing offensive.

Along with the great Loos, Cheyenne Nelson’s butch Sister Robert Anne, Ashley McKay’s slyly star struck Sister Mary Leo, Chelsea Waller’s forceful Sister Mary Hubert, and Sarah Dowling’s dim witted but innocent Sister Mary Amnesia round out the excellent performances.

“Nunsense” is thoroughly enjoyable lightweight entertainment.  This charmingly fun “Nunsense” continues through May 22.  For tickets, call the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre box office at 480-325-6700 or order online at www.broadwaypalmwest.com.

Grade: B