St. Paul Pioneer Press - 3/19/05

-Dominic P. Papatola

Capsule Review

Another serving of ‘Nunsense’ comfort food

There’s a lyric at the top of the second act of “Nunsensations” in which the Little sisters of Hoboken sing, “No one’s serving escargot/ Mac and cheese is all we know.”

It’s a wry admission by Dan Goggin, that his shows are comfort food. And so it is with “Nunsensations”…a witty effort in which Goggin has sent his quintet of daffy nuns to sing and dance their way through a Vegas show.

Writer-Director Goggin knows his shows run on gags, not on subtext, and he’s successfully freshened up the formula he created more than 20 years ago. The “Nunsense” shows all have some kind of audience audience-participation game, and this time it’s an immense Holy Rollers slot machine. There’s always the token ballad…here it’s an unusually poignant look at decisions made and roads untaken called “I Left Him There.”

Goggin gets a little naughtier in this show than in previous efforts—Sister Mary Annette actually utters a word I can’t print in the newspaper, and there’s a tune called T&A (which Reverend Mother insists is talent and attitude). And there are more than a few show-biz in-jokes with pokes at everything from Cirque du Soleil to “Cabaret” and “A Chorus Line.”

But it’s still family friendly stuff carried out by a skilled quintet of handpicked New York-based performers well versed in Goggin’s oeuvre. Jeanne Tinker stands out as the dippy Sister Mary Amnesia, as does Deborah Del Mastro, who offers plenty of attitude as the street-wise Sister Robert Anne. But Bonnie Lee, Bambi Jones, and Carrie Keskinen all show solid vocal chops and impeccable comic timing, as well. “Nunsense” works because it is what it is.