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"Sister Amnesia's Country Western Nunsense Jamboree" cast
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Theatergoers who don’t care for country music may change their minds after seeing “Sister Amnesia’s Country Western Nunsense Jamboree,” currently at Attic Productions in Fincastle.
The show is playwright Dan Goggin’s sequel to his very successful “Nunsense.”
It is a celebration centered on Sister Amnesia, a wacky, childlike nun who, in “Nunsense,” lost her memory when a crucifix fell on her head. In “Jamboree” her memory returns and she learns she is Sister Mary Paul, a former country singer. The “Jamboree’s” premise is that it’s a promotional tour for Sister Mary Paul’s newly released album, “I Could’ve Gone to Nashville.” The show is a delightful evening’s romp for the audience.
The dialogue is filled with hilarious one-liners that at times get cutely risque, adding to the fun because they come from the nuns and a priest. In addition, some of the witty remarks and short jokes take gentle pot shots at the church and religion in general.
The comic tunes are infectious. Two are most notable: “We know that somewhere up in heaven you’re a saint, Patsy Cline!” and “Mini-Pearls of Wisdom.”
As a tribute to Patsy Cline, the former song is an audience sing-along number.
“Mini-Pearls of Wisdom” is an accolade to country icon Minnie Pearl done a cappella by Sisters Amnesia and Wilhelm and Father Virgil, played by Celie Holmes, Carolyn Zeigler and Cory Mitchell respectively. The trio does an extraordinary job with harmony.
The audience is not only invited to sing along but also to participate in an uproarious country auction and an entertaining survey by Sister Amnesia, played to perfection by Holmes.
Gracie Moore, an accomplished choreographer, created the dances for the songs. Katherine Lawson, a seasoned 13-year-old performer who also plays Sister Julia Andrews, put together the other sequences and movements. The choreography is brilliant in that it is minimal for the small stage at Attic but executed in such a way that the dances appear large — a neat trick for an amateur troupe.
All the women have fine voices and Father Virgil, the lone male character, shows exceptional range in his solos and with the women in harmony. The four-person orchestra stayed with the singers at all times, although being enclosed in the single unchanging set meant its sound was frequently muffled.
This is an outstanding production and well worth the drive to the theater just south of Fincastle, nestled in a grove of trees.
With productions like “Jamboree,” one could make a habit of Attic . (Pun intended!)
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