By Dee Jae Cox
I happen to like a good laugh, though off the wall, camp comedy can be a hit or miss, Thankfully, Charles Busch’s, “The Divine Sister,” now in production through March 29th at the Desert Rose Playhouse in Rancho Mirage, is a winner. I’ve seen few who do better oddball camp, than The Desert Rose. I was thrilled to find that this play was engaging and entertaining from the onset. Billed as an outrageous comic homage to nearly every Hollywood film involving nuns, Busch’s script is creative and downright funny. Produced by Paul Taylor and Mark Fivecoat, and directed by J. Stegar Thompson, this production of Divine Sister, is worth a seeing.
Mother Superior, beautifully performed by the very talented Mr. Jim Strait, is on a mission to tear down her old Pittsburg convent and rebuild a brand new one. But deep, dark secrets haunt the convent as well as the nuns who live there. A young postulant, by the name of Alice and portrayed by the very talented and engaging Allison Feist, professes to have a divine gift. Sister Acacius, (Lorraine Williamson), is hysterical as the coach of the school’s wrestling team who happens to be hiding secrets of her own and refuses to accept Alice’s divinity. And the laughs just keep coming as each secret is revealed and the obstacles over come.
Alden West, as German Sister Maria Wallburga and Scottish Charwoman Mrs. MacDuffie is perfect in her duel roles. Obviously gifted with the ability to imitate dialect, West easily transitions between the German and Scottish born characters, giving each a unique voice. And Adina Lawson, always one of my favorite performers to see in any role is equally hysterical as the wealthy and reserved Mrs. Levinson and as 12-year-old little Timothy, the ‘sensitive’ child. Timm McBride rounds out this talented cast.
The set was simple, but perfect. I love a good set and I’m always thrilled when I take a seat in a theatre and the set introduces me to the story before the actors ever enter.
The humor is definitely directed toward an adult audience, (primarily a gay male audience); it’s raunchy and fun and will keep you engaged as secrets unfold. The only jarring moment for me was the lip-syncing, and not so good sound quality of the ‘singing nun’ duets. I think bad, live singing would have been preferable.
There are some plays that are not meant to inspire thought or evoke a depth of emotion, but simply entertain and give you a laugh. That is “The Divine Sister.” And what especially makes this show worth seeing is the talented cast of actors who have great chemistry and know how to put on a show.
The Divine Sister is not appropriate for anyone under 18. So leave the kids at home and just go have a good, fun filled, adult night out.
The Divine Sister is in production at the Desert Rose Playhouse located at 69-620 Highway 111, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.
And running through March 29, 2015 with evening performances on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM with a matinee on Sunday at 2:00 PM.
For Reservations: call 760-202-3000, or visit www.desertroseplayhouse.
Dee Jae Cox, is a playwright, director and producer. She is the Cofounder and Artistic Director for The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project and the host of KPTR 1450’s hit radio show, “California Woman 411” in Palm Springs.