A Parent’s Review: Nunsense
Clowns are usually considered the masters of hilarity, but the cast of Nunsense makes a strong case for the habited sisters as the rulers of comedy. To say that the show is a laugh a minute is probably an underestimate. The show is truly a laugh riot in that rare, laugh-out-loud sort of way. Presented by Rogue Theatrics, the show is currently playing at the Historic Everett Theater.
A visit to the theater is a treat in itself. This theater is over 100 years old and has retained all the charms of buildings of that era. Achieving a rare feat, the theater is both quaint and spacious at the same time, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
My kids were delighted to discover that the theater also boasted a concession stand with affordable popcorn, candy and drinks that you are allowed to take into the theater. A little coordination is required though, as there are no cup holders in the arm rests of the historic seats.
Seating for this show is general admission, so plan to be a few minutes early to get the best seats. The show does include a lot of audience interaction so people in the front row and along the aisles should be prepared to play along.
The musical Nunsense has been around for a while and has a bit of a cult following, and now I know why. The show is simply fun. The cast features only five sisters, but they are overflowing with personality. The combination of physical comedy, crazy antics, witty dialogue and audience interaction built on a solid foundation of good music is a winning mix. The personalities of the five sisters are distinctive and brought to life with mannerisms, facial expressions and clever musical solos. None of us could pick a favorite as each sister had her own moment in the spotlight and a unique way to tug at your heart.
When reading a synopsis of the musical, one might not think it would be appropriate for children. The premise of the story is a variety show put on by the sisters to raise funds to pay for the burial of some of their other sisters who died after an unfortunate dinner of ill-prepared vichyssoise. However, the show does not attempt to do heavy-handed drama, but lands firmly with both feet in the comedy camp. The show is written with multiple levels of humor, which means you really have to pay attention to catch everything.
If there is a downside to the show, it is that much of the humor is based on cultural and religious references. My 11-year old was able to catch many more of the references than my 8-year old, but many of them such as Shirley Maclaine, Sally Field and Loretta Lynn were still beyond his scope of experience. For the most part, the references were just extra laughs and not necessary to follow the story.
The one exception to this is a basic understanding of what a nun is and some knowledge of the Catholic Church or Christianity in general. A little explanation pre-show would go a long way. I don’t mean in-depth theological discussions, but a general overview to help eliminate some basic questions, similar to the things that would come up the first time a child watches The Sound of Music.
That being said, the cultural references were also some of the highlights of the show for my kids. My daughter was thrilled when one of the nuns twisted the sides of her habit into rolls on the sides of her head and pretended to be Princess Leia. My son’s favorite reference was when three of the sisters were being back-up dancers during another nun’s solo and they broke into the Michael Jackson’s zombie dance from “Thriller.”
Musical theater is such a happy place, and there’s “nun” happier that the Historic Everett Theater, at least through Aug. 19. This is one show not to be missed.
If You Go...
Where: Historic Everett Theater, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett.
When: Through Aug. 19; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.
Cost: $19.50 adults, $16.50 students/seniors/military, $11.50 youth 12 and under.
Contact: 425-258-6766 or www.everetttheatre.org.