Minneapolis Star Tribune - 12/05/01

-Erin Hart

Theatre Review

“Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical” received its world premiere last weekend at the Chanhessen Fireside Theatre leaving in its wake a nagging question: Are those really Christmas bells, or is it the sound of cash registers going cha-ching? The original “Nunsense” and its spawn (“Nunsense II: The Second Coming” and “Nunsense III: Jamboree”) have raked in 200 million worldwide since 1985. Now writer-director Dan Goggin has added a yuletide show featuring his popular nutty nuns.

The Chanhessen cast is strong. The promise has the little sisters of Hoboken taping taping their first ever Christmas show for cable-access. Thigns go wrong as they might in any ameteur theatrical: Sister Mary Leo, the school’s resident nun-ballerina, has a backstage mishap, throwing a wrench into plans for a full scale ballet.

Creator Goggin has firm grasp of musical genres, and his best work is in some of these songs. There’s “Twelve Days Prior to Christmas,” a slightly off color dittysung by a hand puppet known as Sister Mary Annette, and Reverend Mother’s nostalgic soft shoe on “A Carnival Christmas,” describing her holiday memories as the child of circus performers. The high point of the first act is a mixed up “Nuncracker” as it might be performed after a head on collision of the van carrying Les Ballet Trocadero and a school bus full of nuns.

The second act is stronger material overall, featuring a solid sketch on Catholic home shopping, a Village People send-up (“In the Convent”) and Sr. Robert Anne’s chance to strut her stuff in “ All I Want for Christmas.”

This is a must see for anyone who can’t suppress a giggle…