Review: Nunsense The Mega Musical

Emma Bishop as Sister Mary Amnesia, Maryanne Rushton as  Reverend Mother Mary Regina and Sharon Hewlett as  Sister Mary Hubert. Photo supplied.

What: Nunsense The Mega Musical
When: August 4-18
Where: Harlequin Musical Theatre, 563 Pakuranga Road
Review by: Reg Michaels and Pauline Hadley

The cast of Harlequin Musical Theatre’s current production of Nunsense The Mega Musical is sure to impress!

This show has some excellent local talent who work tirelessly right throughout the show and, indeed before and during the interval, to keep the audience in the palms of their hands.

The Little Sisters of Hoboken or, rather, what is left of them after a tragic domestic disaster, are led by Reverend Mother Mary Regina played by Maryanne Rushton.

A fantastic character role, Rushton plays her gags as much as she possibly can and who would have thought a Reverend Mother had showgirl status?

In the role of Sister Mary Amnesia is theatre stalwart Emma Bishop, who displays her versatility, both a strong actress and vocalist. It has been a wee while since Emma has been on the stage, and it was a real treat to see her strut her stuff, hopefully she does not leave it so long next time!

Bishop really knows how to work her audience and plays her levels extremely well, and admirably does not overplay her role as some might be tempted to, but rather finds the importance in stillness.

A total vocal powerhouse, Sharon Hewlett brings some superb soul to her role as Sister Mary Hubert. She also finds her character’s full comic potential, and even gets her boogie on. Her final number is packed with lashings of vocal finesse. There are some strong performances all round from all members of cast; Lindsey Brown and Chloe Bagayas stand out.

There is an array of dance genres; tap and ballet, and there are plenty of kick lines, feathers, rubber gloves, and a few other surprises along the way.

The script and score is incredibly catchy and the gags will make you both laugh, and groan.
Musical director Brendan Agnew has done a stellar job with his band, and it is a pleasant surprise to have him interacting. In fact, this show is jam-packed from start to finish with plenty of audience interaction. This is a huge ask for any actor, and often scary for an audience member but don’t let this put you off…everyone is made to feel very welcome indeed; it is a convent after all, and the cast should be extremely proud with just how well they handle the extra improvised pressure.

There were some opening night technical difficulties but I am confident that the technical directors will have these sorted out for the remainder of the season.

Director John Fausett together with choreographer Maritta Gillespie and vocal coach Robyn Kennerley are very fortunate indeed that they have such fantastic talent to work with to fulfil their vision.

Head along to see Nunsense-The Mega Musical at Harlequin Musical Theatre from now until August 18.

Book online at iticket.co.nz, phone 361 1000. Concessions available for seniors, students, children, Harlequin members and group bookings.

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