Review | Play: Nunsense

By Guy Chapman – Navarro County Gazette

Nunsense is the newest musical to grace the Warehouse Living Arts Center’s 2021 season. Originally introduced as a line of greeting cards, creator Dan Goggin expanded the concept in 1985 to a full Off-Broadway production. Now locally directed by Cran Dodds, the comedic production brings its song and dance routine to the WLAC stage in a show that would not be out of place on the Las Vegas Strip (and it was at one point).

The Nunsense cast (L to R): Stephen Jones, Sandra Huffman, Lora Plemons, Julianna Roberts-Feldmann, Alyssa Bain, Amy Gonzales, and Erin Jones. – Photo by Guy Chapman

After a missionary’s cook causes a disaster of biblical proportions and a mismanaged financial decision prevents the sisterhood from fully resolving their situation, five nuns: Sister Mary Regina (Lora Plemons), Sister Mary Hubert (Julianna Roberts-Feldmann), Sister Mary Leo (Erin Jones), Sister Robert Ann (Alyssa Bain), and Sister Mary Amnesia (Amy Gonzales) are pressed to put on a musical production to raise the needed funds.

Aided by the piano-playing Sister Mary Huffman (Sandra Huffman) and Brother Stephen (Stephen Jones), the collection of nuns sing and dance their way through a selection of silly scenarios and puns a plenty.

And this show makes with the jokes. If not delivering straightforward set-up and punchline bits, there’s plenty of physical comedy, double entendres, innuendos, and quite a few subversive chuckles. If the audience is wanting some more saucy comedy bits, they’ll find it here, and much of the humor is sophisticated enough to skip past younger viewer’s heads. There are a handful of eyebrow-raising laughs, and the cast delivers each one with a fully knowing wink.

Speaking of the cast, Nunsense features one of the most vocally strong ensembles to perform on the WLAC stage in recent memory. The five leads each brings something diverse to the table, from Jones’ graceful dancing skills to Plemons’ “straight” delivery as the attempt to bring sanity to her little musical troupe, though it doesn’t take too long before the silliness affects even the Mother Superior.

Individually, Bain, Gonzales, and Roberts-Feldmann each bring fantastic vocal deliveries to their solo pieces, though the entire cast consistently plays well off of each other musically in every number. Huffman keeps the show’s pacing steady with a lively selection of music, hitting her own punchlines with well-timed musical cues.

As an ensemble, the cast shines by complimenting each other’s individual talents and feeding into the situational comedy. Be prepared for a lot of ad-libbing and cast participation. The nuns act as a force of nature, and are frequently out in the audience promoting the good word in their own eccentric ways. No one is spared. Not even you.

For audience members looking for a bawdy good showcase of entertaining song and dance numbers, Nunsense will fill that particular habit. The production’s talented cast is a bright spot for the WLAC’s summer season, and will certainly provide consistent laughs from start to finish.

The Nunsense cast (L to R): Stephen Jones, Sandra Huffman, Lora Plemons, Julianna Roberts-Feldmann, Alyssa Bain, Amy Gonzales, and Erin Jones. – Photo by Guy Chapman

Nunsense opens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 29 with additional 7:30 p.m. performance dates running July 30, and 31, and Aug. 3, 5, 6, and 7. A 2:30 p.m. Aug. 1 matinee performance is also available.

Call the WLAC box office at 903-872-5421 (open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Mon-Fri), or visit www.theWLAC.com for more details.

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