NUNSENSE III: The Jamboree, DreamStreet Theatre & Cabaret, at the Ivanhoe Theater. With Late Nite Catechism already in place, the arrival of Nunsense III makes the Ivanhoe Theater Chicago's mecca for feel-good Catholic nostalgia mongering. Continuing the saga of the stagestruck sisters, the third and final installment in Dan Goggin's story celebrates Sister Amnesia's return to memory and her success as a country singer with the hit "I Could've Gone to Nashville."
Now on a cross-country tour, the four intrepid nuns--minus Mother Superior but accompanied by Virgil Trott, a priest--frolic their wimples off. A kind of "Hee Haw Meets The Sound of Music," this musical grabs for laughs with killer puns and for heartbreak with populist piety. The show includes an audience-participation country auction (selling a literal Bible belt), a puppet show with Sister Mary Annette, a Patsy Cline tribute interweaving the titles of her songs, and many groaner jokes (the team of Mary Leo and Virgil is ballyhooed with "We've got the Trotts!").
David Perkovich in his likable staging puts an eager-to-please cast through many perky paces. Charming Jesse Kazemek as the promotion-minded priest enthusiastically plugs the tour's sponsors: Ascension Air, Franciscan Fodder, and the Manger Inn. Joan Maurer's peppy Sister Amnesia milks pathos from her "Every Time You Smiled at Me," and the others deliver their novelty numbers with contagious zest. Nuntheless, this fluff is best for Nunsense addicts.