The Little Sisters of Hoboken are on a mission – of God! Turning to the stage to raise money for the funerals of their dear deceased members, these sisters sing, pat and puppet through a variety show where we learn about their personal stories and the seemingly unpredictable life of a nun. nonsense is exactly what it sounds like – light, fun, and just a little wacky. As a newbie at the Porchlight Music Theater, I was delighted with their pre-show talk which provided a very entertaining insight into the history, inspiration and creator of the show. This context gave me a whole new appreciation for this “little show that could”, and helped me get into the spirit of things (the holy spirit, that is)!
The phenomenal cast of nonsense gave life to a group of five eccentric nuns with a penchant for the stage. Despite their theater’s morbid reason, they maintained a courageous and upbeat attitude throughout the show. Sister Mary Regina, played by Cynthia F. Carter, ruled the roost as the Reverend Mother. Carter’s confidence and imposing presence made her a great person for the role – her natural leadership really shone. His numbers in both Turn on the spotlight and particularly Holier than you showed his strong voice. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Carter’s antics after discovering a certain substance that stung audiences. Although the scene seemed a bit longer than it should have been, Carter put on a performance of the upper degree.
The Reverend Mother’s second in command, Sister Mary Hubert, was played by Kyra Leigh. Leigh excelled in this role as the link between the leader of the pack and the younger novices, capturing a bossy but motherly attitude pretty well. She wowed the crowd with her low marks in the final number and was such a joy to watch. In virtually every scene, Hubert’s novice and mentee, Sister Mary Leo (Rebecca Keeshin). Keeshin was the absolute image of the innocence and naivety of youth. Her big smile and alluring nature completely won over audiences, as did her heavenly ballet performance in BÃ©nÃ©dicte / Morning at the Convent. Keeshin’s performance as a gentle (albeit ambitious!) Character made you feel like this could be the actress’ personality in real life.
The murderer of a nun, Sister Mary Robert, was played by the hilarious Missy Aguilar. One of the funniest characters to watch, Aguilar was loved by the crowd. The irony of Mary Robert’s desire to have her own number in the series (although her own numbers sing about wanting to have her own number) was a fun element that developed well throughout the performance. . Although Robert’s wish is finally coming true with I just wanna be a star, I personally loved Aguilar’s twisted and almost haunting interpretation of Play Second Fiddle. Finally, each new incarnation of Aguilar’s high jinks with his habit made me laugh out loud – I couldn’t get enough of them.
The outstanding performance of the evening was a surprise from Sister Amnesia, with no memory. Landree Fleming has perfectly managed the progression of this character from a simple two-dimensional to a complex individual with a rich background, desires and, of course, an evil sense of humor. During the âaudience quizâ part of the first act (in which I luckily won a Glow in the Dark Rosary), her character came to life. Fleming notably improvised some of his dialogue and did a fantastic job doing it. His skills as a puppeteer made me laugh So you wanna be a nun as she effortlessly sang her role and that of Sister Mary Annette (pun intended). And finally, Fleming’s southern charm was the icing on the cake of a sundae from a performance in I could have gone to Nashville, where she remembered what might have been.
All of the nonsense is actually borrowed from another running Porchlight show, Pump Boys and Dinettes. This is played out as the backdrop for the school room where the nuns teach, and it worked pretty well. And as you might expect, the costumes in this room were what you’d expect: black and white uniform clothing, a wimple and all. Last but not least, live music is always a treat in any production, and Nunsense’s Porchlight production is no exception. Music Director Kailey Rockwell did a fabulous job with the musical ensemble, including drums and piano. I was delighted to find the pianist also wearing the dress!
nonsense at the Porchlight Music Theater is the perfect happy comedy to get you back into the habit of live theater. More details can be found on the website here.
Photos by Justin Kocher.