Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre NunsenseBy Mari Davis • Aug 16th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre
Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre, Lorton, VA
Through September 25th
2:10 with one intermission
Adults $41.95-$44.95/ Youth $35.00/ Children $25.00
Reviewed August 12th, 2011
Hans Bachman’s Nunsense is comic and clever with a great focus on storytelling. The “Order of the Little Sisters of Triangle” was once a thriving convent of seventy-one, now reduced to nineteen after a tragic cooking accident. Forty-eight nuns were successfully interred, but four remain in the convent freezer because the budget was blown on a blue-ray player and a flat screen TV.
And that’s just the set up.
The show itself is the benefit put on to raise funds for the funerals of the four frozen sisters. As such, the audience becomes a conglomerate character in the production. Audience participation is one of the distinctive qualities of the show, which plays very well with a dinner theater; the more dynamic the audience, the more the actors have to work with.
The stage is set like a jukebox-joint which might make you think you’re at the wrong theater. The sisters quickly explain that everything is for the school’s production of Grease. Set pieces are mobile and utilized multiple times (except an exercise bike which just looks odd). Creative lighting breaks up some visual monotony and adds valuable dimension to the show. The costumes are authentic Catholic habits, complete with veil, wimple, and scapular. Big movements and fancy footwork compensate for the absence of nuanced physicality in the roomy garb.
The actors were believable and spirited, although the pacing flagged a few times. Sister Mary Regina (Tricia Jarrell) was the stolid Reverend Mother with a mischievous streak. Her “unexpected discovery” began hysterically, and then persisted past laughter into awkward audience silence. Sister Mary Hubert (Diane Pollock) has a terrific solo voice with gospel qualities which adds rich tones to ensemble numbers. Sister Mary Amnesia (Kristen Jepperson) was the leader in audience interaction, but her dramatic pauses needed to be shorter. Sister Robert Anne (Julie Sowers) was a firecracker with a terrific build-up and a weak follow-through. Her character’s much-anticipated solo number “I Just Want to Be a Star” suffered from low energy and weak blocking. Sister Mary Leo (Kyna Hollis) is a lovely nun-who-wants-to-be-a-ballet-dancer despite the restrictions of her habit.
Good vocal blending and great stand-alone solo voices keep the audience pleasantly entertained. However, recorded accompaniment detracts by causing actors to channel creative energy into mechanically staying with the recording. Live music would have contributed greatly to the quality and energy of the show.
If you’re looking for a unique event with your family, a large group (discounts available by arrangement), or just a date night with your significant other, Nunsense at the Lazy Susan is a great option. Think about it–for the cost of dinner and a movie, you can have a full buffet, live interactive show, and reasonably priced mixed drinks. You probably won’t remember a movie plot in six months, but the dinner theater experience is unforgettable.
Disclaimer: Lazy Susan Dinner Theatre provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review.
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/7076.
Mari Davis is a student of Speech and Communication at Northern Virginia Community College. She has been involved in the performing arts since the age of five when she debuted as the Little Red Hen on an elementary school stage. Her career includes both national and international ensemble performances with semi-professional choirs, various roles in community and college musicals (both onstage and off), as well as co-directing drama camp for Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA.