Holy Moses! Nunsense Continues to Deliver A Blessed Abundance of Laughs

The Little Sisters of Hoboken at The Rep

So this nun, Sister Robert Anne, found this tiny canister of something labeled “RUSH” in the girls locker room, and she’s brought it to the Mother Superior. 

The reverend mother does a serious “tsk tsk” and then, once she’s alone, she decides to take the cap off and take a whiff of whatever this may be. 

Just as you might expect, she is repelled by the smell, but gradually falls in love with the high – the RUSH – that grabs hold of her. 

Sister Mary Regina (Melody Betts) is off and running with what may well be the funniest drunk/high scene ever on any stage in Milwaukee. 

It starts with the room getting warmer, waving her hands to cool off, followed by a series of moments on her trip – moments that include her miracle pregnancy and a sighting of Elvis. 

There’s a reason that getting high is called a trip and the one with Ms. Betts as the conductor is astoundingly funny. The kind of humor where laugh upon laugh roll through the audience until it’s so loud you can barely hear the actor.

The exhausting performance comes at the end of the first act of Nunsense, the decades-old musical review being staged by The Rep at the Stackner Cabaret.  And it’s a good thing that an intermission came along so people could recover.

Nunsense premiered in 1985 and it’s been done around the world time after time after time, always to the joy and applause from audiences.

Under the wonderful and skillful direction of Malkia Stampley, these five actors dash through this two hour special with nary a pause in the hilarity.

Ms. Betts is joined by four other nuns who make up what’s left of the Little Sisters of Hoboken – Sister Robert Anne (Kelley Faulkner), Sister Mary Amnesia (Veronica Garza), Sister Mary Hubert (Lachrisa Grandberry) and Sister Mary Leo (Candace Thomas).

These are five great singers, great actors and spectacular comedic timing. Shows like this can fall flat if the timing isn’t right, but Ms. Stampley has kept things moving at an ideal pace.

Ms. Faulkner did double duty as the movement director for the production and she has brought a fun-filled kind of dance to five characters who all look different. 

Like any great revue, this one is held together by a flimsy story but gives each of the stars moments to shine.

Ms. Betts has her rush-fueled trip; Ms. Faulkner sings “Growing Up Catholic,” a ballad that ruminates on the changes in both the church and the world; Ms. Garza dazzles with her “I Could’ve Gone to Nashville,” a plaintive cry for what might have been; Ms. Grandberry slams the door shut with her exuberant “Holier Than Thou” and Ms. Thomas delights with her portrayal of her morning routine in “Benedicte,” revealing her drive to be the first nun ballerina. 

Some of the humor in Nunsense is corny and some seems a little dated, but with these five “wimpletons” on stage, the laughing never stops. 

Cast: Sister Mary Regina, Melody Betts; sister Robert Anne, Kelly Faulkner; Sister Mary Amnesia, Veronica Garza; Sister Mary Hubert, Lachrisa Grandberry; Sisterm Mary Leo, Candace Thomas. 

Production credits: Director, Malkia Stampley; Music Driector, Dan Kazemi; Costume Designer, Debra Krajec; Sound Designer, Zack Bernstein; Scenic Designer, Lisa Schlenker; Lighting Designer, Jared Gooding; Stage Movement Director, Kelley Faulkner; Stage Manager, Emily Wright; Casting Director, Frank Honts; Production photographer, Michael Brosilow. 

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