Nuns having fun with puns: Nunsense lets loose at Metro Theatre

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Nunsense | Boone Dog Productions | Metro Theatre | March 11 – 27

Five nuns, tons of puns, and plenty of fun. Oh, and a puppet. That’s really all you need to know about this rollicking musical comedy of errors that sends up Catholic traditions. A group of nuns of the Mount Saint Helen’s convent come together to plan a talent show fundraiser after many of their sisters fall victim to poisonous vichyssoise soup.

The event provides an opportunity for each nun to display their hidden talents: Mother Superior used to be a tightrope walker, Sister Mary Leo is a ballerina, Sister Robert Anne does impressions, Sister Mary Hubert tap dances, and Sister Mary Amnesia finally remembers that she always wanted to be a country music star. And nobody could forget Sister Marionette; she’s a puppet with attitude.

In between the ups and downs of preparing for their talent show, we learn more about their backgrounds and how each one ended up becoming a nun. They lament stunted dreams and sing about what their lives could have been like. For example, Sister Mary Amnesia sings “I Could Have Gone to Nashville,” and Sister Robert Anne sings “I Just Want to be a Star.”  

The action is moved along by a steady stream of catchy, irreverent songs including the opener “Nunsense is habit-forming” (“We’re here to raise some hell!”) and closes with “Holier Than Thou” performed with so much energy and feeling it seems straight out of a Southern Baptist congregation.

It’s all in good fun, and although the characters share some personal hopes and dreams, it doesn’t feel as though we’re meant to take them seriously. Before you know it, they’re back to corny jokes (“What did Jesus say at the last supper? – anyone who wants to be in the picture get on this side of the table”). Sister Robert Anne’s (Sheryl Anne Wheaton) impressions using a scarf attached to her headpiece were cleverly done, including Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, Princess Leia, and Catherine Hepburn. In “Baking with the Blessed Virgin Mary,” they make Mary Magdalene Tarts (cheap and easy!).

Full of wholesome entertainment and fun-loving humour, it’s doubtful there’s anything in Nunsense that would offend even a staunch Catholic. This isn’t a show that will challenge the audience’s worldview or provide anyone with deep questions to mull over. Nonetheless, Nunsense is heaps of fun, and the talented cast keeps the audience laughing while never missing a beat.

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