Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Review of Hell in a Handbag's The Divine Sister

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called The Divine Sister. It was by Charles Busch and it was directed by Shade Murray. It was about a convent and school and the nuns that lived there and taught there. Mother Superior (David Cerda) and her best friend Sister Acacius (Ed Jones) were both teachers and nuns there, but they both had complicated pasts that they wanted to keep secret but are revealed throughout the course of the play. Basically, by the end of the show, everybody has something that has been revealed. And all of the things that are revealed are pretty ridiculous. This was a really crazy and weird show. This show wasn't exactly to my taste, but I think other people could really enjoy it.

Agnes (Charlotte Mae Ellison) was my favorite character. She is a nun in training at the convent. She was a very silly character and she was kind of like the super-happy, jolly-jolly-fun-time, Julie-Andrews character of the entire story. She was over the top but in a very funny way; she really seemed very genuine while she was acting goofy. And she was very committed to it, which I really liked. She was mostly very peppy and skipping around and singing, and she would end almost every number in the splits! I found her really funny. Then she has a huge transformation at the end where she becomes a total biscuit and starts smoking and has a huge amount of makeup and a perm. And I thought that was hilarious.

The way that you find out that three of the characters were related is because they realize that when they are emotional they have gagging reflexes. I thought that was quite clever, kind of dumb, and funny all at the same time. That basically explains the entire show in a sentence! The entire show is very silly in an over-the-top way with a lot of sexual humor and unexpected twists. I think a lot of people will enjoy that. I'm not sure if camp is really my style or my thing, but there were still moments that I enjoyed.

I felt like the show had some aspects that I wasn't a huge fan of. I felt like some of the acting was over the top in a way that was funny, but seemed fakey. I understand that camp is not supposed to be believable, but I wanted to see these actors actually seem like they cared about what they were saying more than they sometimes did. You want the play to be fast-paced but sometimes it felt like they were just rushing and it made it very hard to understand. Sometimes people would stumble or totally forget a line, which I found very awkward, but I'm not sure if that would still be a problem if someone saw it now.

People who would like this show are people who like campy shows, family gagging reflexes, and jolly-jolly-fun-time nuns in training. I thought this was a crazy show and a lot of people I think will have a lot of fun at it.

Photos: Rick Aguilar Studios

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