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Sister act ; The funny nuns are back with ode to Hollywood

The Little Sisters of Hoboken, still trying to raise funds for their cash-strapped school and convent

Mount St. Helen's, where every day is Ash Wednesday -- now find themselves in Hollywood, a new batch of songs and skits stashed inside their voluminous habit pockets. Mary Regina, Mary Hubert, Mary Robert Anne, Mary Amnesia and Mary Leo are ready for their close-ups in "Nunset Boulevard," the latest and possibly last chapter in Dan Goggin's very successful "Nunsense" series. The last? Well, we hope so, but we could light a votive candle and do good works to make sure.

For those who somehow might not know the history here: It all began years ago when the convent cook brewed a killer vichyssoise and poisoned nearly all staff. Chef Sister Julia's specialties were Barbecued Ribs St. Joan and, of course, Lamb of God. Dessert? The delicious Mary Magdalene Tart. But, the soup victims needed to be buried, so Reverend Mother Regina embarked on a show business career to pay the ample fees.

The nuns have been star-struck ever since, trying their luck in Nashville, Las Vegas and elsewhere, finally accepting a gig at what they thought was the Hollywood Bowl. Turns out it's the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama. But, the show must go on and the sisters, lovers of movies and moguls and music, deliver an often funny, sweet and hokey paean to Tinseltown before heading back to Hoboken.

Mary Kate O'Connell directs a dutiful cast, she herself as Regina, and regulars Mary Craig, Mary Moebius, Susana Breese -- invaluable as the memory-challenged Amnesia -- and Erin Brignone. They romp and race through most of the night, except when the skits go bad -- the terminally lame game show segment, "The Price Is Righteous," for example -- and several others, when they allow painful moments to linger. Paraphrasing the Good Book, the flesh is willing but the spirit is weak.

Still, "Nunset" has its charm: "The Bowling Ball Blues," with Breese out front, warbling a genuine country lyric, "When your ball is in the gutter," the outrageous "The Hollywood Blondes" and the Act I finale "The Casting Call." Nice work there.

Ron Swick, Cindy Connor and Craig Hodnett instrumentally aid.

At one point, Craig's Hubert ponders the revue and says, "Any good show should have a plot." Oh, Hubert, from your lips to God's ears. I'll probably get my knuckles rapped with a ruler for saying this, but maybe it's time for Goggin's sisters to drop the dream and retire to Hoboken to work with the poor and pray for world peace.

***

"Nunset Boulevard"    

2 stars (out of 4)    

WHEN: Through Feb. 13    

WHERE: Gleasner Hall, Erie County Community College, 6205 Main St., Amherst    

TICKETS: $16 to $22    

INFO: 848-0800 or oconnellandcompany.com

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