New York and Connecticut theater reviews and news

Connecticut Theater

"Nunsensations! The Nunsense Vegas Revue"
Downtown Cabaret Theatre, Bridgeport

More friends to the rescue! It’s “Nunsensations! The Nunsense Vegas Revue.” Writer/director/creator Dan Goggin and producer Scott M. Robbins have brought the latest show about those rollicking nuns to Downtown Cabaret. This visit of the touring show (Goggin’s sixth in the Nunsense series) is on hand to give Downtown’s Campaign Cabaret much-needed and very solid support. Hopefully this engaging show will help fill the coffers.

This time around the Little Sisters of Hoboken are paying a visit to Las Vegas, where they cavort about with Sally Rand fans and glitzy headdresses (but always in full nun attire). The amazing fact about Goggin’s shows is that he never steps over the bounds of good taste, in terms of sexual innuendos. Not even in Las Vegas. The worst sin that the nuns commit is to win money at the slot machines.

Goggin’s nuns and this show, like its predecessors, remain sweet, good-natured, sprightly, and slightly zany. And wonderfully pure and naive in an era when few shows can make that claim. Granted that the corn is spread liberally about the stage. But in Las Vegas those silly jokes feel appropriate.

Even though there remains an amateurish, let’s-put-on-a-show-in-the-barn feeling, “Nunsensations!” has charming tunes and lyrics (courtesy of Goggin), and a first-class cast. These five performers—Deborah Del Mastro, Bambi Jones, Carrie Keskinen, Bonnie Lee, and Jeanne Tinker—are triple threats as they sing, dance, and flesh out each character. Each of the five nuns—the Mother Superior, her next-in-command, the would-be dancer, the tough girl from Brooklyn, and the addled Sister Mary Amnesia-- is a distinctive stage presence. Each gets her moment in the sun, and each is capable of a show-stopper with her song or a dance number or puppet routine. There are even bits of philosophy and human doubts, as the nuns examine their “calling.” The comic routines are silly, but appropriately so, and the story line, though thin, meanders happily though the piece.

While “Nunsense” fans may be happy to see one more show in the sequence, one can’t help wondering what Goggin would achieve if he turned his creative talents, at last, to an entirely new subject. Meanwhile, Goggin has made a successful cottage industry out of his black-clad sisters, and the sun never sets on a “Nunsense” show, as they wend their way around the world. What’s next, one wonders? The nuns, marching like the penguins, through the frozen wastes of Antarctica? We would not be at all surprised if those adventuresome ladies turned up at the South Pole.

-- Irene Backalenick
Sept. 25, 2005

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