Sunday, November 18, 2012

American Heartland "Nuncrackers" review by BobEvans

Nuns bring holiday joy 
Rating: 4

American Heartland Theatre

If you are looking for some lighthearted fun, plan to attend American Heartland's production of NUNCRACKERS. Call ahead, though, many performances are sold out, and rightly so.

Watch the merry nuns produce their first TV show from money earned when Sister Amnesia wins the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, but can't keep the money. The nuns, always looking for a way to raise funds, while also struggling with daily mishaps, plan a televised version of The Nutcracker, but... yes, something goes terribly wrong and the fun continues.

Deb Bluford portrays Mother Superior, Regina and continues to entertain audiences. Bluford, known throughout the theatre world, returns as the Mother Superior to lead a talented cast through the newest nun saga.

Liz Golson undertakes the role of Sister Amnesia and provides lots of fun through both acts as she just can't seem to get things right. But, suffice it to say Golson delivers a really funny character. Her vocals are good and move the story along.

Jessalyn Kincaid, an AHT regular, never fails to entertain. In this case, her duet with Bluford provides her the chance to really let the song and her portrayal dominate the stage, even when Bluford belts out her part of the duet.

Jennie Greenberry just appears to be set decoration until she gets her chance in Act II to let fly with her vocal skills. When she opens up on her gospel-inspired solo, her voice and character come full front and center. She has a clear pleasing voice and the audiences will enjoy her song and comedic talent.

That leaves Ken Remmert, as Father Virgil, who provides several funny parts to complete the show. Remmert, who performs in several local venues, shows his comedic skills as a singer, an actor, and a great percussionist. Remmert, while not performing on stage, plays drums through the musical pieces featuring the nuns. His take as Sister Julia and fruit cake are not to be missed. He's great.

Also, four young entertainers help the nuns with the story. Watch for them to develop in years to come. Jake Bartley, Lucas Dorrell, Amanda Dulney, Lindsey Hart, Brendon Hulla, Michelle Maddock, Brett Rawlings, and Journey Tupper rotate among performances.

Director Paul Hough assembled a great cast and interpreted the piece for its entertainment value. With his crew and band, he created a great piece of local entertainment. What the audience views results from the behind the scene's crew of sound, accompaniment, lighting, choreography, stage management, props, sets, and more. It takes more than a cast to create an evening of theatre.

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