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Naughty Nuns 

In an otherwise hokey show, one performance makes it all worthwhile.

In between, the show (book, lyrics, and music by Dan Goggin) is laced with corny and irreverent jokes. For example, during a cooking show sketch, the nuns describe how to make Boy Scout treats: “first, get a dozen brownies real hot .…”

The musical performances are solid. Christina Longobardi is particularly good as the ambitious Sister Hubert. A sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University, Longobardi shows off a powerful voice and a promising stage presence.

But it is Debra Wagoner as Sister Amnesia who single-handedly takes this ordinary show up a notch. She’s a joy to watch. Her childlike sense of glee is reflected in both her voice and physical mannerisms. During one scene, she sings with a raunchy puppet also dressed as a nun. The banter between ventriloquist and doll is hilarious. More impressive is the way Wagoner maintains two different singing voices during the routine. The puppet has a brassy, old-fashioned Broadway voice. Though just as powerful, Sister Amnesia’s voice contains more color and tone.

To be honest, a show consisting of just Wagoner and a singing puppet probably would be more entertaining (and sublime) than “Nunsense.” So if anyone in town is looking for a campy, one-woman show, they should sign up Wagoner, commission a script, and create an Ethel Merman puppet. It’s a guaranteed winner. Until then, Swift Creek Mill Theatre has this remarkable demonstration of musical prowess all to itself. S



,i>“Nunsense” continues through Nov. 18 at Swift Creek Mill Theatre. Tickets cost $25.50 to $38.25, for buffet and theater together. 748-5203.

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