The Little Sisters of Hoboken are back and aim to please in the Dayton Playhouse’s lively production of Dan Goggin’s simplistically silly 1985 musical “Nunsense.”
Playfully directed by Greg Smith, “Nunsense” concerns the accidentally poisoned deaths of 52 nuns who have not been buried as a whole due to bad financial planning. In order to remedy the situation, five of the 19 survivors stage a small fundraiser that quickly erupts into a jokey talent show filled with goofy antics, naughty puns, adequate tunes, and good-natured audience participation.
Tina McPhearson, a natural comedienne with a zestful personality, is perfectly cast as no-nonsense Mother Superior Mary Regina who attempts to keep the zaniness under control to no avail. In addition to solidifying her appeal with a joyously carefree rendition of “Turn Up the Spotlight,” she’s truly amusing late in Act One letting loose with a nod to “Driving Miss Daisy.” Sherri Sutter, a sweetly ditzy Sister Amnesia even in terms of choreography, turns up the charm for “A Word from Reverend Mother” and gives her lovely soprano an effective country twang for the toe-tapping “I Could’ve Gone to Nashville.” As Sister Robert Anne, an aspiring thespian with a tough edge, the enjoyably droll Amy Askins is adept at impersonation and nails her big solo “I Just Want to Be a Star.” The amiable Kelli Locker is a suitable fit for Sister Mary Leo, the weakest character. In her first local musical role, Ellen Finch warmly embodies the practical Sister Hubert. Finch, particularly fine opposite McPhearson, isn’t the strongest vocalist but manages to end Act One on a high note while leading “Tackle That Temptation With a Time Step.”
If you’re looking for an upbeat diversion this weekend, give “Nunsense” a try.
“Nunsense” continues through Feb. 19 at the Dayton Playhouse, 1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10-$15. Act One: 55 minutes; Act Two: 45 minutes. For tickets or more information, call (937) 424-8477 or visit www.daytonplayhouse.com