The News-Times -

-Chesley Plemmons

With 'The Second Coming,' hilarity has become a habit

It used to be said that blondes had more fun.

Now it's nuns. Nuns are a funny business and funny nuns are everywhere. Whoopi Goldberg is packing them in with her movie "Sister Act" and "Nunsense" is in its seventh year off-Broadway with road companies playing every major city in the country.

It's no surprise then to find Dan Goggin, the originator of the original "Nunsense," unveiling (pardon the nun pun) a sequel: "Nunsense II, The Second Coming," at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury.

What makes this kind of convent comedy so appealing? Perhaps it's the breaking down of some kind of social barrier that appeals to the rebel in us. After all, nuns are supposed to be good teachers, not song and dance stars. And they're certainly not expected to tell bawdy jokes.

But in Goggin's shows they do and seem to relish every minute of it.

Audiences seem to share in their liberated and sometimes libational spirits. We've come a long way Crom a slightly spunky Ingrid Bergman in the film "The Hells of St.Mary's" to the swinging sisters of "Nunsense II."

For anyone not familiar with the "Nunsense" gang, they're all members of "The Order of the Little Sisters of Hoboken" and operate the Mount Saint Helen's School where the show takes place.

There isn't much of a plot, nor is there need for one. Of course, there are problems: whether the convent can be saved from bankruptcy through the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes; whether Sister Mary Amnesia must return to the Francisans.

Along the way, the women have most of the audience rolling in the aisles with their irreverent, sassy behavior. Sister Mary Regina (Kathy Robinson) is the Mother Superior. Robinson originated the role in "Nunsense" and it clearly has become her own. She is as jolly as old Saint Nick and I defy anyone to resist her enthusiasm.

Mary Gillis has the role of the muttering second-in-command, Sister 'Mary Hubert, She gets away with some very funny bits, including a hilarious first-act number with Robinson, "The Classic Queens," in which they get smashed on sake and dream of life on the silver screen.

Semina DeLaurentis is Sister Mary Amnesia, who arrived at the convent with no identity. She recalls only that a crucifix had fallen on her head. Her hapless character gets a boost from her nun hand puppet who has a pretty good sense of humor, too.

Sister Mary Leo (Lyn Vaux) is a roller-skating nun in "The Prima Ballerina" and Sister Robert Anne (Christine Anderson) handles "I Am Here To Stay" in fine style.

Goggin has obviously directed with affection and the show moves swiftly, The musical direction by Michael Rice is peppy and supportive.