Printable CopyNUNSENSE A-MEN
Matt Byrne Media
Holden Street Theatres
Until 30 Nov 2019

Review by Janice Bailey

The genre ‘musical comedy’ should mean exactly what it says – a show where audiences find laughter as well as song. Matt Byrne Media ‘religiously presents the SA Premiere of Nunsense A-Men’, and the cast provides the audience with bucketloads of both song and comedy with wacky fun, merriment, farce, music and laughter. With the added opportunities for ‘anything goes’ with the nuns being played by four men, each one with different comedic strengths, the laughs come thick and fast.

Originally the brainchild of Dan Goggin – who wrote the book, music and lyrics – “Nunsense A-Men” continues to be a favourite with music theatre companies as a surefire winner with the right cast. Matt Byrne is very astute at finding the ‘right’ people and he has struck gold once again with this current production at Holden Street Theatres. The basic storyline is that the Little Sisters of Hoboken need to bury the Sisters who were poisoned by the convent cook, Sister Julia, so they need to raise money – what better way than ‘putting on a show’.

With men playing the roles of women, particularly in this show, it is imperative that they are believable as women while at the same time not trying to ‘fool’ the audience. Each one of the cast does this in spades. Director Matt Byrne as producer, director, designer does an excellent job as Sister Hubert by maintaining a sense of stability. Each cast member has their opportunity to shine and they do it so well. David Gauci is totally believable as Sister Mary Regina with strong vocals and characterization. Chris Stansfield shows a depth of experience as Sister Robert Anne and delivers a well-rounded performance. Ron Abelita as Sister Mary Amnesia is delightful in his characterization as well as his vocals. Jayke Melling demonstrates wonderful dance and vocal ability and exudes charm as Sister Mary Leo and has a smile every dentist would love! Ben Saunders does a sterling job as Musical Director Sister Billy Field. The choreography by Rose Vallen is crisp and sharp and works well with each of the characters. The costumes by designer and creator Anne Williams fit the brief well and allow the performers to move easily. Lighting design by the experienced Paul Tossell works extremely well.

If you want to spend a couple of hours enjoying what theatre is all about – escapism and enjoyment – don’t miss this production. It will draw capacity audiences and deservedly so.