Tuesday, October 11, 2005

review of Nunsense II

three-days-after-opening-night review of Nunsense II (hey, Bobo's been busy ...)

Nunsense II: The Second Coming
at CenterStage through Nov. 18

If you're looking to revisit the glories of Nunsense (1991, 2003) and Nunsense II (1993-94) at the Civic, the current production of the sequel at CenterStage will get you part of the way there. But you'll have to sit through a lot of missed comedic opportunities and disconnected musical numbers to get there.

An uninspired plot framework, too many lame jokes and a weaker supporting cast than in previous local incarnations of Nunsense combine to dilute the star turns of Jean Hardie as Mother Superior and Kathie Doyle-Lipe as her sidekick.

But boy, is the Jean and Kathie Show ever good.

With her crabby glare, her clicker and her cane, Hardie's Superior sister is one Mother who expects to be obeyed. It's the burlesque bits that we could watch over and over: Hardie doing chorus kicks; Hardie praying for divine help as she lowers herself gingerly into the splits; Hardie doing hip thrusts and then whipping the ground with her red feather boa.

With her bespectacled little head bobbing, Doyle-Lipe's Sister Mary Hubert gets blocked out of chorus lines. She ends up in comic arguments with Hardie's bosom. When the two of them get tipsy, Doyle-Lipe has a scene-stealing get-every-last-drop bit; when Hardie bonks her on the head, she's a vibrating, out-of-control dwarf.

For much of Nunsense II, you’ll shift uncomfortably in your seat, glance at your watch and then realize that your grin feels frozen. Sketch comedy is never continuously funny; there are always going to be dead spots. But there are so many head-scratching moments in this show that one shudders to think of what Goggin’s three other sequels are like.

Hardie and Doyle-Lipe are so good that they almost salvage this production. Almost.

... with comments on the supporting cast, the (lack of a) plot structure, and more examples of great comic bits by Hardie and Doyle-Lipe still coming -- in Thursday's issue of The Inlander.


At October 12, 2005 9:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have to disagree. I thought the supporting cast did a nice job backing up the "Jean and Kathie Show". This is an ensemble piece that simply would not work without the support of all five cast members. Although the script itself has some problems and faults, that blame should be focused toward the author, not the women working their habits off onstage. The contrived lines and outdated jokes should be by no means a reflection on the actresses. I found Amnesia to be quirky and fun with a great comic timing and sincere delivery of her last song. I thought Leo did a nice job with her ballet, and Robert Anne had a strong belt and beautiful soprano. The strong performances given by Jean and Kathie did not out shadow the fine ensemble work by the three other women. The portrayals by these all five of these women were certainly up to the performances given in some recent Shaw productions around town that received ‘rave’ reviews. I thought the show was a strong production which did all five women and the theatre proud. It is certainly a show not to be missed.

At October 16, 2005 10:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who don't know, Kathy chipped her hip bone and cannot go on with the show. It happened during a show, and Troy graciously stepped in to take over the role of Hubert at least for the weekend. Let it never be said that the theatre group doesn't look out for their own.

At October 17, 2005 8:28 PM , Blogger Bobo the Theater Ho said...

I hope Kathie's OK, too.
That's especially generous of Troy, since he called me disputing the characterization (printed in the CenterStage program) that this particular production of Nunsense II was "Directed and Choreographed by Troy Nickerson."
He says he only "came in about four times to help out."

But whatever the misunderstanding there, it's true that more and more theater people around here are helping one another out, appearing in a several theaters's shows, and so on. That's very likely to increase the spirit of cooperation among local theaters, which is great.

At October 19, 2005 9:48 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the good thoughts and thanks to Troy and the cast for doing such a great job on such short notice (I saw the Sun matinee - it was great!) The actual diagnosis is a fractured GREATER TROCANTER, in english a crack in an extension of the hip bone caused by tendons stretching too far and pulling it apart (ouch!) They mentioned surgery but decided time would do the trick. I will be on crutches for a while - no weight on the right leg will speed proper healing. The plan is to return to the show (with the drs strict warning) with the help of crutches or a wheel chair. No more "Breaking a Leg" for me. Kathie


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