The Arts, Etc.

    Exit 7 Players in Ludlow, Massachusetts

    the Nunsense Christmas Musical

    The Nunsense Christmas Musical, NUNCRACKERS,
    focuses on the first TV special taped in the Cable Access Studio
    built by Reverend Mother in the convent basement.

    December 4, 5, 11, and 12 at 7:30 pm
    and December 6 and 13 at 3:00 pm

    Review by Donna Bailey-Thompson

    Towards the middle of Act One, Nuncrackers becomes energized. Father Virgil (John Woytowicz), as incongruous as it may seem, gets the ball rolling with a sweet, sentimental song, The Christmas Box. Next, Sister Amnesia elevates spirits several more notches as she and Fr. Virgil, Sisters Hubert and Robert Anne, to the tune appropriate for "Here we come a-wassailing / among the leaves so green," brandish waffles and instead sing, "Here we come a-waffle-ing." Almost immediately Reverend Mother (Claire Bertrand, who deserves better material), sings A Carnival Christmas. At some point during the mounting mayhem, Father Virgil goes from tipsy to rubber-legged drunk. Finally, the full cast, including ten adorable students from Mount St. Helen's Catholic School, cuts loose with their take of The Nutcracker. The ballet is parodied: white feather plumes bob atop the heads of Sisters Amnesia, Hubert and Robert Anne; Father Virgil slides and collides; and chuckles grow into belly laughs that stop short of hysterics.

    The second act clips along, the energy remains high, the laughs keep coming. Sister Robert Anne (Katie Clark) sings Jesus Was Born In Brooklyn. A manger tableau is created. Mary Jane (Schulze) Disco, as Sister Hubert, belting a la Sophie Tucker, "It's Better to Give," demonstrates how to upgrade an ordinary song into a show stopper. And throughout the musical, Sue Crowther's Sister Amnesia makes dumb funny and endearing.

    The cast does their best to elevate Nuncrackers into the top Nunsense echelon but sometimes a script and/or a song have built-in booby traps. This seems to be the case within Nuncrackers. The first moments of the show are cluttered with double entendre one-liners, otherwise known as bathroom humor, the level that appeals to second grade boys. With judicious editing, all of Act One could sizzle.

    Exit 7 Players' production of Nuncrackers prompted theatergoers to share their opinions in e-mails that ranged from "What a great show! We thoroughly enjoyed it" to "I was ready to leave after the first act." Rare is the show that can be all things to all people. Exit 7 has a remarkable track record - first-rate musicals as well as first-rate dramas. Their productions have consistently given community theater a good name. This one falls a tad short, more the fault of the material than the company. On balance, the Nunsense franchise has been treated well by Exit 7.
    Exit 7 Players
    37 Chestnut Street, Ludlow, MA 01056

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