Todd Berry as Velma Needlemeyer (pictured, right), Steve Swift as Sister Myotis (center), and Jenny Odle Madden (right) as Ima Lone. in Sister Myotis's Bible Camp. Photo by Kim T. Sharp.
And make no mistake, Sister Myotis’s Bible Camp is a party for believers that will make most everyone want to join in the fun. The premise for this show is simple. Sister Myotis and her two true-believing assistants prepare the audience for what’s in store over the course of a week long female retreat. Sister Myotis’ religious affiliation is kept carefully blurred because the religion is only a ruse that allows Sister Myotis to lecture, warn and hector the audience about sin and sinful actions. Religion itself isn’t mocked; Sister Myotis could be Catholic, Jewish or Amish and the effect would be the same. Sister Myotis’ non-denominational Christianity is merely the mountain she chooses to descend from in order to bring the Truth, as she sees, it to the masses.
And her truthful missives wander wide, from crafts, to sexual hints, to complaints about the men-folk, to warnings about thongs. Steve Swift as Sister Myotis aims broadly at easy targets both clichéd and new. With its folksy charm and gentle PG jokes, you would feel comfortable taking your Grandmother to this show (and with some jokes about Gunsmoke and Hee Haw, you are forgiven for thinking your Grandmother is the target audience).
Steve Swift creates a lovable, bumbling taskmaster in Sister Myotis, already a phenomenon on youtube. Easily offended, but sure of herself, Sister Myotis is a fully rounded character, both emotionally and physically. As her devotees, Todd Berry and Jenny Odle Madden bring Sister Velma and Sister Ima to life. Given bits and pieces of business and song, these two make the most of their time in the limelight, but it is a position Sister Myotis is not comfortable giving up.
As theater piece, the play goes on a little too long, and trim or two would make the evening tighter. Some of the jokes hit a little flat, but they come so fast, that another is bound to come by soon that will tickle your funny bone. Directed by Jerre Dye, there a nice amount of movement and flow in the proceedings, that keep the show from feeling like a session with a stand up comic. And some credit has to go to the outrageous costumes by Ashely Whitten Kopera and Kim Yeager. Sister Myotis Bible Camp is a high energy good time with everything southern but fried chicken.
SISTER MYOTIS'S BIBLE CAMP
The Abingdon Theatre, June 11 – July 4, 2010
Cast list: Todd Berry, Jenny Odle Madden, Steve Swift
Director: Jerre Dye
Rating: Well Worth the Money
What works: Sister Myotis - she is a hoot
What doesn't work: COOCH (you'll see)
What you get to brag about to your friends: She's on You Tube and she is hilarious.