Painted roses curl around the far back wall of the stage framing a basketball hoop; bleachers on stage right complete the mostly spare set of the rollicking Catholic comedy Nunsense 2: The Second Coming at Aux Dog Theatre (3011 Monte Vista NE) in Nob Hill. If the set is minimal, the content is anything but. Here we have five sisters: Reverend Mother Mary Regina (Angela Littleton), Sister Mary Hubert (Lisa Fenstermacher), Sister Mary Amnesia (Jessica Osbourne), Sister Robert Anne (Bridget Kelly) and Sister Mary Leo (Elena Warden) who are staging a show for the audience that helped them to raise burial money for 52 sisters who succumbed to botulism in the first installation of this madcap series. The women live and work at Mount Saint Helens School, where they've stashed a few of the leftover bodies in the freezer until they gain the funds to manage a few more burials. Fear of the health inspector's impending visit spurns the action initially forward.
Yet, Nunsense 2 isn't so much about the action, its more about the spectacle, and the entire cast of this particular production does well at making this spectacle something to remember. Each of the women cast is a very talented singer, and all are given opportunities to shine in character-revealing solos. Littleton brought a real guise of authority—even if undercut by a secret love of Elvis, a background in the circus and a little too much sake—to the role of the Mother Superior. Fenstermacher had a soulful voice that gave group numbers heart, ringing out powerfully above the chorus, while Osbourne hit all the right (and damn near impossible) notes, while lending buoyancy to the duration of the two hour production. Meanwhile, Kelly played a nuanced tough nun, and Warden, in a pitch-perfect soprano, played a novice sister who just wants to dance (even while donning roller skates).
The jokes by and large come by way of slapstick bits and innuendo. Though having been raised Catholic, I got a special kick out of Reverend Mother Mary Regina peddling a book called The Catholic Gift Giving Guide that included wares like the Mike Pence Exorcism and Reconditioning Kit and the Ascension Thursday Levitation Pack. That's not to say the laughs are just for those of us who have been indoctrinated with catechism, Nunsense 2, in fact, has broad appeal. Though, I was left shaking my head in the dark of the house at a persistent number of fat jokes—which never ring anything but mean-spirited and cheap in my ears—especially after observing that this play was authored by a man.
Looking past that flaw in the writing, what is undeniable is that Aux Dog's production of Nunsense 2 brings immense talent front and center and showcases that talent with precision. Well integrated choreography (and even a bit with a puppet!) maintain engagement, making each act fly by in seconds. The so-called “habit humor,” driven mostly by the music that is the show's centerpiece, makes the play a welcome weekend diversion. You can catch Nunsense 2 at Aux Dog Theatre on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Aug. 6. Tickets and further information are available online at auxdogtheatre.org.