Vienna Theatre Company NunsenseBy Jennifer Gusso • Apr 27th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Vienna Theatre Company
Vienna Community Center, Vienna, VA
Through May 8th
2:00, with one intermission
$14/$12 Seniors and Students
Reviewed April 23rd, 2011
Sister Julia (Child of God) made vichyssoise soup that happened to be tainted with botulism and killed fifty-two of the Sisters of Hoboken. Sister Mary Regina, the Mother Superior, managed to raise funds to bury forty-eight of them but bought a blu-ray player before burying the final four. So, how to raise the funds to get those last four nuns out of the convent freezer and into the ground? A musical fundraiser performance. And, thus, you are brought right into the audience-participatory world of Nunsense. Vienna Theatre Company did a nice of job of bringing life and joy into their production of this fourth-wall-less, interactive farce.
They did a great job of setting the ambience. The audience received separate programs for the fundraiser, and the room was decorated with signs appropriate for the Catholic school auditorium. The set was simply decorated for the school’s production of Grease. They also made use of these large bouncing balls as set pieces. I am not sure of the thought process behind their incorporation, but they were used effectively for various musical numbers. The lights and sound were really high-quality and well-run for being in a community center. The costumes were excellent as well.
All the roles are about the same size, and the five women really worked well as an ensemble in both numbers and scenes. The only issue that they had as an ensemble is that some of the songs involved them telling important or funny information while singing together rather quickly, and, in several of these incidences, the lack of enunciation muffled what seemed like they might be good lines.
The real star of the show was Darcy Geissler as Sister Mary Hubert. She created a consistent and strong character that was as evident in her reactions as in her actions, and her performance of “Holier Than Thou” was one of the best performances of a musical number, vocally and in her ability to sell it, that I have ever seen.
Colleen Sproull, as Sister Robert Anne, also had an amazing voice that was really highlighted in her number, and she had great comedic delivery that was routed in the creation of a very sympathetic character from the Bronx. Occasionally, she had a little trouble completing connecting with the audience while singing, but she gave an overall strong performance.
Jocelyn Steiner’s Sister Mary Amnesia was an excellent and believable character performance. When her vocals were on, as they were for most of her second number, she has a beautiful quality of tone to her voice. Unfortunately, she struggled with pitch, especially when transitioning into her head voice. As Sister Mary Leo, Julie Keyes gave a decent performance. She has a sweet voice and a likeable energy, but she didn’t really stand out.
The most problematic performance came from Janice Zucker as Sister Mary Regina. She pushed so hard for over-the-top for comedic effect that she missed that real comedy comes from creating a complete character. Her performance was not bad, but it was certainly artificial and lackluster compared to rest of the cast that did a much better job of embodying their identities.
Overall, it was a fun and enjoyable production that was presented with a lot more quality and class than you might expect when walking into a non-traditional theater space.
- Sister Mary Regina: Janice Zucker
- Sister Robert Anne: Colleen Sproull
- Sister Mary Leo: Julie Keyes
- Sister Mary Hubert: Darcey Geissler
- Sister Mary Amnesia: Jocelyn Steiner
- Producer: Denise Perrino
- Director: Jessie Roberts
- Music Director: Adam Levowitz
- Stage Manager: Micheal O’Connor
- Accompanists: Scott Cartger, Larry Zimmerman
- Assistant Producer: Gerry Kadonoff
- Sound: Jon Roberts
- Lights: Jay Stein
- Costumes: Judy Whelihan
- Set Construction: John Vasko
- Props/Set Dressing: Barbara Matthews, Mike Smith
Disclaimer: Vienna Theatre Company provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. VTC also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio.net web site, which did not influence this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6495.
Jennifer Gusso has been involved in theatre in the state of Maryland and DC for most of her life. She has acted, directed, choreographed, stage managed, and held a million other odd jobs. She has a B.S. in English from Towson University, and is currently pursuing her Master's Degree to become a Reading Specialist. She is a Maryland State Certified English, Theatre, Elementary, and Mathematics Educator. After teaching English and Drama for many years, she now teaches 6th grade Language Arts at Magnolia Middle School in Harford County, Maryland. She wrote the curriculum currently used in Prince George’s County Public Schools for Drama I and Drama II. She now writes and directs plays and musical for use in church.