11:27 | 19th February 2019

Reviews: Live Shows

Sun 7 Jul, 2013
By Robert Ingham

this is high-camp and completely off-the-wall

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The Landor Theatre in Clapham North has been transformed into Mount St Helen’s Town Hall for a production of the Off-Broadway hit ‘Nunsense A-men!’, a madcap musical featuring all singing-all dancing nuns.

The convent’s cook Sister Julia has accidentally poisoned almost all the nuns and only five are left to give those left in the deep freeze a good send-off. However, with no money left in the coffers, the Little Sisters of Hoboken have decided to put on a fundraiser, and stage show ‘Nunsense A-men!’ is born.

This is a “leave your brain at the door” show, and anyone expecting Chekhov should perhaps find their inner child as this is high-camp and completely off-the-wall.

Think ‘Sister Act’ meets ‘Nuns On The Run’, and thanks to the performances and the songs (and even the script) this mostly works.

There are some fantastic moments peppering this show, with genius lines which had the audience in hysterics. The entire show is completely insane and nothing like you’ve ever seen before, whilst still remaining strangely familiar. Kudos to Director Robert McWhir who has whipped his cast into shape and created a stupidly surreal, but entirely watchable, production.

As for the cast, everyone excels in their character. From Paul Brangan (Sister Mary Hubert), always with a mischievous glint in his eye and a knowing nod to the audience, to the sweet David Kristopher-Brown (Sister Mary Leo), who channels Billy Elliot throughout, we are in safe hands from a cast who know how to get the most out of their roles.

Josh Rochford (Sister Mary Amnesia) is endearingly innocent as the nun who has no idea who she is, and is wonderfully wide-eyed while never becoming clichéd. Sister Mary McArthur gives a very strong performance as the Reverend Mother, especially with this being his debut in a musical, and I look forward to seeing him make more of the cracking lines he has.

Alastair Knights (Sister Mary Roberts) excels in his role as the nun who always wanted to be on the stage but had a higher calling to become part of the convent. Alastair has the show-stopping “I Just Want To Be A Star”, not an easy song to sing, and he relishes every line, making him the one-to-watch.

Performances aside, ‘Nunsense’ is a bizarre show that cannot be taken seriously and has its tongue firmly in cheek, whilst also being earnest in its desire to entertain. It deserves a repeat viewing purely because the humour and wit, as well as the interaction between the cast, will become tighter and even more polished as it gets further into its run. Thoroughly enjoyable – just leave your intellect at the door and roll with the punches. Amen!

‘Nunsense A-men!’ is on at the Landor Theatre, Clapham North until 28th July.


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