Sister’s Easter Catechism at City Theatre | Theater | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Sister’s Easter Catechism at City Theatre 

Kimberly Richards has amazing abilities at both improv and crowd control

Way back in 2005, City Theatre presented Late Nite Catechism, featuring Kimberly Richards as a nun named “Sister” overseeing an adult-education class in which she explained various points of Catholic dogma and doctrine. In practice, the show was really an evening of improv in which Richards worked the audiences for comedy gold, penalizing people for, among other things, showing up late, chewing gum, talking in their seats and/or wearing low-cut blouses. That show was a huge hit, and the tours have returned to City as often as a horny 10-year-old returns to confession.

I caught the first several, enjoying Richards’ amazing abilities at both improv and crowd control. For whatever reason, some audience members think they can challenge Sister and come out unscathed. They are very wrong.

click to enlarge Kimberly Richard stars in Sister’s Easter Catechism - PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY THEATRE
  • Photo courtesy of City Theatre
  • Kimberly Richard stars in Sister’s Easter Catechism

The shows are usually organized around some basic theme: Christmas, summer school, the Gift of the Magi, Las Vegas, etc. But that’s only a backdrop to the audience interactions and, if I’m being honest, after a while a certain sameness can creep in. Eventually I starting taking a pass.

I was shocked to realize, however, that I hadn’t seen an installment since Benedict was pope. So when City said it would host Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will My Bunny Go to Heaven? (produced by Entertainment Events, Inc. and directed by Mary McAuliffe), I figured, what the … heck.

This time, Sister is explaining Easter, Lent and the Passion while mining the audience for laughs. I actually found the educational material interesting (lots of obscure Christian trivia here) and she plays several goofy, fun games with the audience.

Unfortunately I was there the same night as a group that had had waaaay too many Zinfandels before the show, and their antics brought the evening to a screeching, uncomfortable halt. I recalled that the last time I’d been to a Catechism the same thing had happened. Richards ultimately prevailed both times — she is a seasoned professional after all — but I do think City Theatre should institute a two-drink maximum.



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