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Eugene Weekly : Theater : 12.04.08




Ladies in Black

Those wacky nuns invade Cottage Grove

by Anna Grace

In the comfy, cozy Cottage Theater, five habit-bound women set to the stage in search of money to bury several of their peers, frozen solid in the convent freezer.

Murder mystery? No, just total and complete Nunsense.

The nuns have accidentally poisoned some of their sistren, and they must raise funds for the burials. Can they do it before the health inspector puts the kibosh on the Little Sisters of Hoboken? Jazz hands, Catholic humor and vaudevillian music abound in this goofy, giggling musical revue in Cottage Grove.

The show is brought back to life, again, by director Peg Major. This is Major’s eighth production of Nunsense, having worked her way from actor to director over her years of involvement with the show. As a director, she sticks to the schtick and delivers a solid production with few surprises. She has passed the habit of Sister Mary Hubert on to her daughter. Miriam Major plays her mother’s signature role with a big voice and riotous expression beneath her wimple. Another daughter, Rebekah Hope, has incredible range and depth and is charming as Sister Mary Amnesia. She delivers a duet with a hand puppet that is positively brilliant.

In addition to family members, Major has cast some serious voices in this show. Buffee Ann Gillihan is both ballerina and soprano as the naïve novice Sister Mary Leo. Karen Snyder (Sister Mary Regina) and Janet Rust (Sister Robert Anne) are similarly energetic as singing, tap dancing, pun-addicted nuns. 

This play is silly. Really silly. The night I attended, it was almost too much for me — but it seemed like just enough for the rest of the audience. Patrons joyfully stood and cheered and participated in trivia games; they seemed to genuinely love this show. Scenes that I felt could have been cut down, such as a lengthy video of nuns on the town in Cottage Grove, were met with hysterical laughter by the audience. Humor that I found bordering on tacky didn’t seem to bother anyone else.

Nunsense is an audience pleaser. If you could use a little fun that’s not directly Christmas-related, get your tickets and drive on down to the Cottage Theater.  Sister Mary Hubert’s show-stopping finale “Holier Than Thou” will make you glad you did.

 

Nunsense continues through December 20. Tix at www.cottagetheatre.org or 942-8001.