Christmas musical fun from the Arundel Players

Director Kate Bennett returns to the Nunsense series as the Arundel Players get ready for Christmas.
Kate Bennett by Rosey PurchaseKate Bennett by Rosey Purchase
Kate Bennett by Rosey Purchase

She is directing the fourth in the series Nuncrackers at the Arundel Players’ Priory Playhouse from November 27-December 2. Certain to tickle your funny bone and likely to tug at your heartstrings, Nuncrackers is the perfect way to make your holiday season merry and bright, the Players promise.

In Dan Goggin’s piece, The Nunsense Christmas Musical Nuncrackers is presented as the first TV special taped in the Cable Access Studio built by Reverend Mother in the convent basement.

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The Arundel Players are promising “the nuns you love” plus Father Virgil and four of Mount Saint Helen's most talented students, featuring all-new songs including Twelve Days Prior to Christmas, Santa Ain't Comin' to Our House, We Three Kings of Orient Are Us and It's Better to Give than to Receive, plus some of your favourite carols and a Secret Santa sequence featuring audience participation.

As Kate explains: “It is the fourth in the series of musicals under the umbrella which goes back quite a long way. I believe that they were originally from greetings cards which had nuns on them making comic remarks. I believe it goes back to the 90s.

“And it's actually the fourth time I've directed this one. I've directed them all four times. I started with the first one and moved through the sequence and I think actually there are six of them, and I just think there's something very funny about them. There's something very funny about a nun suddenly singing a country and western song in a cowboy hat and also you have got audience participation in the piece. They all have. They do involve the audience and that's just part of the set-up and they all have solo numbers as part of the format of the piece.

“The starting point for the first one is where the nuns buy a lottery ticket and they win the lottery but I would stress that it's absolutely none of it offensive in any way, shape or form or offensive to religion at all. For the actors it's simply a costume. The Arundel Players wanted a Christmas show and this is what we're doing. I tend to direct for the Arundel Players when they're putting on a musical. I did Barnum last year for the festival production. It used to be an annual thing but I would say that it's now probably more like every 18 months.”

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And of course, the Arundel Players always have the great advantage that they have their own theatre: “It means that they can rehearse where they will perform and they can put the set in very quickly.”

Generally, Kate believes, audiences for amateur theatre are still building post Covid: “I think that they are still picking up. It is definitely going in the right direction and, after all, who doesn't want to come and see a musical. This is a bit of a escapism and Nunsense in particular is great escapism!”