Much fun with 'Nunsense A-men' at the Boom!
Parody is a double-edged crucifix in this production of the long-running off-Broadway hit, “Nunsense” by Dan Goggin. Originally an all female show (it is about nuns, after all) the authorized all-male production was developed in 1998 and has been produced locally more than once.
Directed by Brett A. Young, who also plays Sister Mary Hubert, the Boom’s production is as classy and professional as one could ask. Parody does not work if it’s sloppy, and there is no danger of that here.
The original show is a takeoff on the lives of nuns; the all-male version takes that one step further. Young and his cast walk a very fine line, all the way to the altar. And they do it with hilarious grace. The show is funny, charming, and moving while tenderly mocking all the stereotypes of convent life.
Five of the surviving sisters of the Little Sisters of Hoboken take to the stage of their high school to tell the story of the trials and tribulations of their order and to perhaps earn enough money to bury the last four of their deceased sisters. Sister Mary Regina, who is also Mother Superior, is played by Jeffrey Meek, and she is a delightfully autocratic and curmudgeonly parent indeed. Meek deftly interweaves the maturity and stability of a beleaguered administrator crossed with the exasperation of a distracted mother. Sister Mary Hubert, the mistress of novices, is ably delivered by Young, who positions Hubert as the strong second that Mother Superior can turn to in times of stress—and all the times are times of stress. Young shows us a nun with compassion, ambition, organizational diplomacy and a truly caustic wit. Sister Robert Ann, who drives the car, is played by Scotty Taylor in amazing and delightful shoes. One just knows that Robert Ann is the gym teacher nun at the Mt. St. Helens School. Taylor’s Robert Ann is a nun with a desire to share the spotlight and shine forth for the glory of the convent. Joel Swanson gives us a gentle and lovely young novice, Sister Mary Leo, who has a secret passion for dance. Swanson capably performs a devout and introverted Leo. Nearly stealing the show is Brian Hamilton as Sister Mary Amnesia, who definitely lives up to her name. Hamilton handles a role that requires sweetness without syrup and a part that demands a wide vocal range and tremendous control, and he delivers on all counts.
The show demands a certain level of skill in all three departments—acting, singing, and dancing—as well as some ability to handle the uncertainties of audience participation. (There is, in fact, a quiz—take notes!) All of these fine performers carry the show beautifully.
Young has taken a production designed for a proscenium stage and folded it carefully and effectively into the cabaret environment of the Boom. Costumed with real accuracy by Meek, and with lighting and sound by Jeff Karl, the show is delightful and fun.
The parody works on several levels, in part because Young has thoughtfully and wisely avoided any temptation to “milk” the drag aspects of this version of the “Nunsense” family of plays. It would be fair to say that no actual nuns were harmed in the making of this production.
“Nunsense A-men” is strongly recommended for those able to enjoy laughing at the occasionally pompous aspects of religious institutions. Curtain is at 8:00 on Friday and Saturday evenings through April 18 at The Boom! The club is located at 2218 NW 39th street, Oklahoma City. The production room is a dinner theatre; dinner service starts at 6:30 and the kitchen is excellent. Due to the presence of the bar, the venue is for patrons over 21 only. Tickets available at Ticketstorm.com or by calling 866-966-1777.