Those five lovable, unpredictable nuns are back, dancing, singing and cracking Catholic jokes in a new musical revue, supposedly designed to thank the contributors to their first show.
In Nunsense II: The Second Coming, now running at the Knock 'em Dead Dinner Theatre, all the nuns' deceased convent co-workers are safely out of the freezer and buried, so they can turn their energies to impressing a talent agent in hopes of getting on the American Idol show.
If you saw Nunsense No. 1, you may remember that these are the five survivors from the convent where an accidental poisoning carried away the rest of the religious residents. In order to raise enough money to bury their co-workers, the nuns put on a show and win big bucks in the process. In that program, the nuns performed on the Mount Saint Helen's School gym stage, which was set up for the school production of Grease.
In their second show, The Mikado is featured on the "school" stage, with the name in sparkling lights and Japanese screens and colorful lanterns strung about. Although Nunsense II is loaded with clever songs, outrageous dancing and buffoonery, it does not quite live up to the bite and originality of the first play. It has villains—the Franciscan friars who lay claim to the nuns' cash winnings and their beloved Sister Amnesia (Susie Jeffords). And it has the fearsome five who will not let their treasures go without a fight.
Led by the Rev. Mother Superior, portrayed with gusto by Bea Eichmann, the nuns are definitely bitten by stage fleas (or acting bugs), and each one takes this chance to show off her remarkable talents. Jeffords not only conducts a riotous bingo game with the audience, but also performs a delightfully funny puppet routine. Jeffords's chirpy voice and innocent look make her perfect for the role of the forgetful nun who was bopped on the head by a crucifix.
SaraFina Rodriguez is the playful and energetic novice, Sister Mary Leo, who roller skates into your heart, and Sister Mary Hubert (Leta Neustaedter) drops her elegant style long enough to get tipsy with Mother Superior. Michelle Bass as Sister Robert Anne belts out her songs with the best of them and then does an intricate little act with her veil, turning into an assortment of famous characters with a twist of the wrist.
Knock 'em Dead Theatre, now 20 years old, is under the direction of Scott Beseman, who has perfected the dining and theatrical experience. He has costumed characters from the play welcoming the audience members as they arrive and serving as wait persons.
The meal that precedes Nunsense II offers a tossed green salad with raspberry vinaigrette, crab stuffed chicken breast with Sister Julia's Bernaise Sauce, rice pilaf with baby carrots and a roll. The dessert, served during intermission, is angel food cake with berries and whipped cream. Not only is this a tasty meal but the convenience of dining in the theater venue, free parking and no rushing to make a curtain, make this a fun and relaxing package of entertainment.
Nunsense II: The Second Coming, book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggin, directed by Scott Beseman
Knock 'em Dead Dinner Theatre, 333 S. 9th St.
Thursday-Saturday through May 8
Thursday: 7 p.m., show only $15.50 general; $12.50 students/seniors
Friday and Saturday: dinner at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; dinner and show $34.50; show only $17.50 at door.
Dinner tickets should be purchased at Select-a-Seat at least 24 hours in advance.