Nunsense (Recording)

Louise Gold starred as Sister Mary Amnesia on the Original London Cast album recording, recorded on 1 & 2 April 1987 at Abbey Road EMI Studios London

Catalogue number: (LP) TER 1132, (CD) CDTER 1132, (Cassette) ZCTER 1132 

This album is also available via i-Tunes

Cast

Sister Mary Regina - Honour Blackman

Sister Mary Hubert - Pip Hinton

Sister Robert Anne - Anna Sharkey

Sister Mary Amnesia - Louise Gold

Sister Mary Leo - Bronwen Stanway

Additional Singers - Joyce Rae & Anna Rees

 

Production Team

Book, Music & Lyrics - Dan Goggin

Original Production(s) Ė 1984, The Duplex Nightspot, Greenwich Village, and, 12 December 1985, Off Broadway Cherry Lane Theatre, with Semina De Laurentis as Sister Mary Amnesia

Director - Richard Digby Day

Musical Director/Piano - Father Barrie Bignold

Keyboards - Brother Paul Jury

Drummer - Brother Tony Layzell

Alto Sax/Clarinet/Flute - Sister Beverley Calland

Company Manager - Nick Earle

Stage Manager - Paul Bennet

Designer - Lee Dean

Executive Producer - John Yap for JAY/TER records

Engineer - John Kurlander

Album Release co-ordination - Roy Rowlinson

 

Track Listing

CDTER 1132

1. Nunsense Is Habit Forming - Cast (Honor Blackman, Anna Sharkey, Pip Hinton, Louise Gold, Bronwen Stanway, Joyce Rae & Anna Rees)

2. A Difficult Transition - Cast (Honor Blackman, Anna Sharkey, Pip Hinton, Louise Gold, Bronwen Stanway, Joyce Rae & Anna Rees)

3. Benedicte - Sister Mary Leo (Bronwen Stanway)

4. The Biggest Ainít The Best - Sister Mary Hubert and Sister Mary Leo (Pip Hinton and Bronwen Stanway)

5. Playing Second Fiddle - Sister Robert Anne with interruptions from Sister Mary Regina and Sister Mary Amnesia (Anna Sharkey with Honor Blackman and Louise Gold)

6. So You Want To Be A Nun - Sister Mary Amnesia (Louise Gold)

7. Turn Up The Spotlight - Sister Mary Regina (Honor Blackman)

8. Lilacs Bring Back Memories - Sister Mary Regina, Sister Mary Hubert, Sister Mary Leo and Sister Mary Amnesia (Honor Blackman, Pip Hinton, Bronwen Stanway, and, Louise Gold)

9. Tackle That Temptation With A Time Step - Sister Mary Hubert and Cast (Pip Hinton with: Anna Sharkey, Louise Gold, Bronwen Stanway, Joyce Rae, Anna Rees, and, Honor Blackman)

10. Growing Up A Catholic - Sister Robert Anne, Sister Mary Leo, Sister Mary Hubert, and, Sister Mary Amnesia (Anna Sharkey, Bronwen Stanway, Pip Hinton, and, Louise Gold)

11. Weíve Got To Clean Out The Freezer - Cast (Honor Blackman, Anna Sharkey, Pip Hinton, Louise Gold, Bronwen Stanway, Joyce Rae & Anna Rees)

12. Just A Couplía Sisters - Sister Mary Regina and Sister Mary Hubert (Honor Blackman and Pip Hinton)

13. Soupís On (The Dying Nun Ballet) - Sister Mary Leo (Bronwen Stanway)

14. I Just Want To Be A Star - Sister Robert Anne (Anna Sharkey)

15. The Drive In - Sister Robert Anne, Sister Mary Amnesia, and, Sister Mary Leo (Anna Sharkey, Louise Gold, and, Bronwen Stanway)

16. I Couldíve Gone To Nashville - Sister Mary Amnesia with backup singers (Louise Gold, with: Pip Hinton, Anna Sharkey, Bronwen Stanway, Joyce Rae & Anna Rees)

17. Gloria In Excelsis Deo - Cast (Honor Blackman, Anna Sharkey, Pip Hinton, Louise Gold, Bronwen Stanway, Joyce Rae & Anna Rees)

Holier Than Thou - Sister Mary Hubert and Cast (Pip Hinton with: Honor Blackman, Anna Sharkey, Louise Gold, Bronwen Stanway, Joyce Rae & Anna Rees)

18. Nunsense Is Habit-Forming (Reprise) - (Honor Blackman, Anna Sharkey, Pip Hinton, Louise Gold, Bronwen Stanway, Joyce Rae & Anna Rees)

 

 

The LP TER1132 and the Cassette ZTER 1132 follow the same listing as the CD CDTER 1132 but with tracks 1 to 9 on Side A and tracks 10 to 18 on Side B.

On Track 6, So You Want To Be A Nun, Louise Goldís Sister Mary Amnesia is effectively singing a duet with herself, as actually she is singing a duet with a puppet, Sister Marianette, performed by herself.

All of the performers on this album appeared on stage in the Original London Production of Nunsense, at The Fortune Theatre.

Louise Gold, Pip Hinton, Anna Rees, and, Bronwen Stanway may have represented the Nunsense cast taking part in Thing A Thon.

John Kurlunder was also the engineer on Merrily We Roll Along

Louise Gold subsequently sang I Could Have Gone To Nashville in the first performance of her cabaret act, see Louise Gold Sings Some Nice Songs , where she also mentioned that in 1994 she was honoured with The Freedom Of The City Of Memphis Tennessee, see Noel/Cole: Letís Do It.

Nunsense is not the only religious musical to have had one of itís major original American productions at The Cherry Lane Theatre, Godspell premiered there, before itís Broadway premier at the Broadhurst Theatre, where the original production of 110 In The Shade premiered.

I Couldíve Gone To Nashville on this recording is not the only recorded example of Louise Gold singing an affectionate Country music send-up, she also sings on Elmoís Lowdown Hoedown

Honour Blackman appeared on television in ITVís 50 Greatest Shows.

 

Review

by Emma Shane, September 2002

For me the discovery of this gem of a recording was a Ďclassicí experience in a musical-theatre-fanís life. One day I went into my favourite record shop, dear old Dress Circle in Monmouth Street, looking for the Ďforthcomingí JAY/TER studio cast recording of Anything Goes starring Louise Gold as Reno Sweeney. But it was not available, for the simple reason that it had not yet been released (indeed seven years later it still hasnít been put out on general release). However, the gentleman behind the counter suggested that I might be interested in this recording of Nunsense. One of the great joys about visiting the Dress Circle shop (and something with sadly is not possible when doing mail order) was that the staff were often willing to play a bit of a given CD while a customer was trying to decide whether to buy it. By the time I had heard Tracks: 6, 14, 15 and 16, I knew I had to buy the album.

By and large, as long as you are willing to laugh about religion in general and Roman Catholicism in particular, this album is sheer joy from start to finish. The five principal actresses (with the help of two additional actresses) all excel both individually and collectively. Ensemble pieces such as Nunsense Is Habit Forming and A Difficult Transition set the scene. When listening to them it can be fun to try and pick out the different voices of the individual performers, although these actresses can be a little deceptive. Louise Gold is a particular mistress of vocal deception, for most of the album she adopts a rather cute American accent, rather similar to The Muppet Showís Annie Sue Pig, but not all the time. In A Difficult Transition there is a line ďAs she was victory bound her snozz fell on the groundĒ sung by an actress with an unrecognisable accent. One day I switched on the radio and heard what appeared to be a scene in play involving an actress with that accent, I thought it must be either Honor Blackman or Pip Hinton, but could find nothing in the radio listings corresponding to what I was hearing. Eventually I realise the television was coming out through the radio (via the VCR), I put on the television, and the scene turned out to be a Sesame Street Nestrapolitan Opera skit, obviously featuring Louise Gold!

More rather good ensemble performing, with some distinct individual voices can be heard when Pip Hinton leads the cast in Holier Than Thou and Tackle That Temptation With A Time Step. The former I must confess can get a little tedious if played a lot. The latter is a delight for anyone who has learnt to tap dance. It is also great fun for any Muppet-fans as Louise Goldís Sister Mary Amnesia sounds just like a confused Muppet wondering how to get off the stage. Perhaps the best ensemble piece featuring the entire cast, and certainly one of the funniest and catchiest songs is Weíve Got To Clean Out The Freezer. This number is absolutely hilarious, once you have heard it you simply wonít forget it, and the cast put it across with great verve and enthusiasm. This team of performers, however, do not just work well as a septet, but, partly thanks to their strong voices (Louise Gold and Anna Sharkey are particularly outstanding in this respect) when there are fewer of them singing together. Four of them sing Lilacs Bring Back Memories and Growing Up A Catholic. Anna Sharkey does not sing on the former, however such is the presonce of the others she is not missed too much, especially not as most of the action in this song ends up being rather focused on Louise Gold, even though Bronwen Stanway and Pip Hinton had a verse each, the really memorable performance is Louiseís verse as Amnesia.Meanwhile Honor Blackman does not appear on the latter, and she is missed even less. Anna Sharkey leads the quartet well, with some strong support from Louise Gold. Itís a good demonstration of just how effective any chorus with a singer of Louise Goldís power is, but Anna Sharkey does not get overshadowed. One of the most outstanding ensemble pieces, The Drive In is sung by a trio. Here although perhaps Anna Sharkeyís Robert-Anne is meant to lead them, it is Louise Goldís Amnesia that we actually notice. This is one of those numbers that really seems to capture the spirit of this riotously silly but jolly good fun show.

If you like good old show tunes then by and large Dan Gogginís music is very pleasant to hear, and his witty meaningful lyrics are a joy. Although this is noticeable in the ensemble pieces, it really comes out in the duets and solos. Benedict effectively sung by Bronwen Stanway is an almost believable description of a nunís daily life, while Anna Sharkeyís excellent performance of I Just Want To Be A Star is great fun and fits in very well with the whole show. Honor Blackman and Pip Hinton meanwhile get their turn to describe a nunís career in Just A Couplía Sisters, which is hilarious for its reference to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and a brief foray into Swanne. This is not the only time Dan Gogginís songs go into wonderful pastiches, other examples include Louise Gold singing a bit of Summertime in the middle of So You Want To Be A Nun, Pip Hinton and Bronwen Stanway warbling a famous line from Gypsy (ďSing out LouiseĒ) in The Biggest Ainít The Best (which also happens to be another terrific song). While Honor Blackmanís whole performance of Turn Up The Spotlight might be a pastiche of something, but she sings it as though she means it.

My three favourite solos, however, are truly outstanding. They are: Playing Second Fiddle, So You Want To Be A Nun, and, I Couldíve Gone To Nashville.In Playing Second Fiddle I particularly liked the references to: Gypsy, Hello Dolly and The Pajamia Game, and most especially the bit about Shirley MacClaine understudying Carol Haney. This song also happens to be a wonderful performance by Anna Sharkey (with some interruptions from Honor Blackman and Louise Gold). The next track on the album, So You Want To Be A Nun is a real vocal tour de force from Louise Gold, though it must have been an even greater masterpiece when she performed on stage (where in addition to her vocal acrobatics she also puppeteered, all at the same time). Louise Goldís ability to change accent effectively at lightning speed is almost unbelievable, and this track is an excellent example of that, her breath control is magnificent. Indeed so good is she on it, that the first few times I heard this track I had trouble working out what was going on, and wondered: Which one of these two singers is Louise Gold, they both sound like they could be her? I was amazed when I realised that this is because she is both of them! Louise Goldís other solo piece (albeit one where she does have some backup singers at the appropriate moment), I Couldíve Gone To Nashville is also a triumph for this extraordinary women. Louise enlivens the song considerably by her ability to change accent and style quickly slipping suddenly and convincingly in and out of little imitations of various Country singers, and yet at the same time remaining resolutely herself. She exercises breathtaking control over her delightfully powerful voice, knowing just when to let rip and when to be sweet and subtle, her performance is a monument to her outstanding vocal abilities.

One of the few criticisms that might be made about this album, is that, especially when compared to the Original Broadway Cast album of the same show, the performers diction is not terribly good (and that goes for all five of the principal actresses). However, that is a minor detail, they more than make up for it with their sheer verve, energy, enthusiasm and lively sense of fun. In all those qualities they are far above their Broadway counterparts. They also happen to be significantly better than their Broadway counterparts when it comes to working in a wide range of styles, slipping easily and effectively from one to the other (Louise Gold in particular is far better in this respect than Semina de Laurentis, even if the latter has slightly better diction). All in all this album is a fun filled riot in a way that the Broadway album is not. One significant difference between the two albums occurs on the song The Drive In. On the Original Broadway album the lead vocal is sung by Sister Robert Anne, but on the Original London recording this part appears to be sung by Sister Mary Amnesia. This perhaps has more to do with Louise Goldís stunning vocal gifts than anything else. The only problem with this album is that it only partially captures the show as a whole; the visual element is missing. This is a great shame, the Original Broadway cast after all was filmed, but if this album is anything to go by the Original London cast sound like being an improvement; And certainly when I saw the video of the Broadway cast, I couldnít help feeling Louise Goldís performance of the visual element of So You Want To Be A Nun would almost certainly have been much better (after all Ms Gold is such an accomplished puppeteer).

This is certainly one of the best albums that Louise Gold has sung on. And of the ones which are more widely available I would say it is the best. It is so full of light heated fun and Louise Goldís vocal performance is excellent. Therefore, if you are going to buy only a few of the albums she is featured on, this is most definitely one to go for.

Webmasterís footnote: About sixteen months after this review was written, the Anything Goes album that the reviewer was looking for in the first place was finally released, as CDTEH6011. See: Anything Goes (Recording) - Website Recommended Album.

 

Links about Nunsense (Recording)

 JAY Recordsís page for this recording (which also links to itís itunes download): http://www.jayrecords.com/jay/site/pages/recordings/nunsense/recording.htm

Best Selling UK Music Review, page about this album: http://www.pamandmike.co.uk/uk/Reviews/ItemId/B000025M82#review_1

Cast Albums.org databaseís page for this album: http://www.castalbums.org/recordings/3546

FYE.comís entry for thsi album: http://www.fye.com/Nunsense--Original-London-Cast--Front-Page_stcVVproductId186352VVcatId455366VVviewprod.htm

 

Return To Site Guide | Return To Recordings | Nunsense (Stage Show) |