I will admit, I was a little apprehensive about reviewing “Nunsense A-Men,” currently on stage at Amish Acre’s Round Barn Theatre in Nappanee. Men playing the nuns? But, from the time the first nun stepped on stage until the final curtain call, I lost all apprehensions I may have had and found the audience and myself caught up in the production.
I had seen “Nunsense” a few years back and loved it. It seems Sister Julia, Child of God, cook for the Little Sisters of Hoboken, N.J., accidentally poisoned 52 sisters with her toxic vichyssoise. A fundraiser was held to provide funeral expenses and all was well until Reverend Mother decides the convent needs a plasma screen TV and there is only enough money to bury 48 of the sisters. The other four are in the freezer.
Thus began “Nunsense” and thus begins “Nunsense A-Men.” Funds are needed to bury the other four sisters. What better way than a variety show with the Round Barn audience as the show’s audience. There is a Mt. Saint Helen’s cheer that the audience is encouraged to participate in. Later, there is a quiz with prizes for audience members and other audience participation during the evening.
In all, there are seven nuns on stage. Reverend Mother Mary Regian (Matthew C. Scott), Sister Robert Anne (Benjamin Lee Jackson), Sister Mary Hubert, mistress of novices (Jeremy Littlejohn), Sister Mary Amnesia, who has lost her memory, (Travis Smith) and Sister Mary Leo, the novice who wants to be the first ballerina in the convent, are the performers in the variety show. David Brennan is the piano player and Timothy Leonard delivers a check near the end of the production.
All are great as they provide a laugh a minute.
Scott is the leader of the pack and is a delight to watch. Reverend Mother was a circus performer and loves the spotlight.
Jackson is the tough one and the only one who drives a car. She’s a nun in tennis shoes and is the back up who wants to do a solo only to be stopped each time she come up with a different idea. Jackson is good at what he does.
Littlejohn is also the director and choreographer of this production. He does a fantastic job at both and is fun to watch as Sister Mary Hubert, who really would like to take the Reverend Mother’s job and Littlejohn tries to upstage her whenever the chance arises.
Smith is the one who shines in this production. As Sister Amnesia, the theatre’s musical director can’t remember anything. She’s shy. Smith captures the audience with his antics.
Morris is the novice and is the dancer of the group. Why can’t this nun wear a ballerina costume when on stage? So what if the costume clashes with the habit. Morris turns in a superior performance as he tries to mix his dancing with his character’s becoming a nun.
The musical numbers are super, with tunes like, “Nunsense is Habit-Forming,” “Playing Second Fiddle,” “Turn Up the Spotlight,” “Growing Up Catholic,” “I Could’ve Gone to Nashville” and “Holier Than Thou,” all delighting the audience.
The show, like “Nunsense” before it, is hilarious and guaranteed to lift your spirits. For tickets call 800-800-4942 or on line at AmishAcres.com. The production will be on stage through July 21.
CURRENTLY ON STAGE — Currently on stage at Amish Acre’s Round Barn Theatre through July 21 is “Nunsense A-Men.” In front is Travis Smith as Sister Mary Amnesia with a special friend. Directly behind him are Jeremy Littlejohn, Sister Mary Hubert and Matthew C. Scott, Reverend Mother Mary Regina and in back are Benjamin Lee Jackson, Sister Robert Ann and Ramaad Morris, Sister Mary Leo. (Photo provided)