By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Nunsense makes no sense at all, but that doesn't mean it can't be silly fun. The show finds the five Little Sisters of Hoboken, led by yet another Sister Regina, putting on a benefit musical to raise money. Why they need the funds is the big joke. Or one of them anyway. In two hours, Nunsense delivers a nonstop nunzapalooza of clichés, double entendres and puns about Catholicism. The chef is "Sister Julia, child of God." Her recipe for "Boy Scout Treats" begins "Get 10 Brownies really hot."
Calling this stuff "low-brow" would be too lofty a compliment. And the production at Artisan Center Theater—replete with canned music, off-key singing, egregious mugging and ragged kick-lines—adds injury to insult by watering down or editing out the risqué bits. At this all-volunteer community theater located in a down-at-heel shopping center, everything's strictly child-friendly. (A policy of no bad words, violence or sexual content should pose interesting challenges for their West Side Story in July.)
This theater plays to a particular audience in a particular way. They do 10 productions a year, each running a month. Every role is double-cast. One ensemble does Monday, Friday and Saturday matinee performances; the other does Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights. They go dark Sundays or Wednesdays (church nights).
Hail Mary! continues through June 13 at Circle Theatre, Fort Worth. Call 817-877-3040.
Nunsense continues through June 20 at Artisan Center Theater, Hurst. Call 817-284-1200.
Tickets are $12. Popcorn and soda are consumed noisily by patrons during the show. And everyone takes a casual approach to etiquette (or so we observed at the performance reviewed), coming and going willy-nilly while the performance is in progress. At intermission, there's a raffle, where the prizes include 2009 calendars.
But the regulars pack the place. Opening night was a sell-out, as is every other performance for the run of Nunsense. The crowd laughed their heads off and gave the five actresses a standing O. You can argue with that, but why bother?
It's good to check out the amateur stuff now and again. But as long as there are better shows at professional theaters, don't think you have to make it, you know, that thing nuns wear.