Gender-bender happy in fun ‘Nunsense’ production

Nunsense cast members (from left) Hannah Anderson, Sally Davies, Jules Molloy, Nick Meissel and...
Nunsense cast members (from left) Hannah Anderson, Sally Davies, Jules Molloy, Nick Meissel and Morgan Potter get ready to perform the musical in Alexandra this month. The Alexandra Musical Society production features the ‘‘quirk’’ of Mr Meissel playing the role of a female in the show, director Bryan Aitken says. The drama teacher at Dunstan High School, Mr Meissel was brought in when the previous female cast in the part was unable to do the show. Donald Lamont
Take a closer look, and you will see something unusual in the upcoming show of Nunsense in Alexandra.

Four women will perform as nuns in their habits, alongside a fifth with a "quirk", director Bryan Aitken says.

He is Nick Meissel, the drama teacher at Dunstan High School and Mr Aitken’s first choice of "ring-in" when the woman previously cast as the fifth nun was unable to take part in the show.

Having a male play a female part in modern musical theatre was "extremely uncommon" and "does give it a different flavour", but was "the right thing to do" in this case, Mr Aitken said.

"I was confident I could recast it and my thoughts went immediately to Nick. I’ve known of him for 20 years and worked with him before, so I was aware of his abilities and his sense of humour and his vocal range. He was my first pick for recasting the part. Not any male could play this part, but Nick’s got the tubes and the acting ability."

Mr Meissel said when Mr Aitken asked him to do the the role "I kind of went, ‘OK’ ..." and thought, "Oh that will be interesting".

But after reading the script he realised he was "attracted to the challenge" of the part, and now wanted "just to be treated like one of the sisters, one of the girls".

He said he was thrilled when someone recently watching a rehearsal told him "I wouldn’t even know that you’re a male. And I went, ‘Well that’s good enough for me’."

He hoped the audience at the show would "have fun with" Mr Meissel’s casting.

The other "very fine female performers" in the production were Jules Molloy, Sally Davies, Hannah Anderson and Morgan Potter.

Nunsense opens on Alexandra Blossom Festival Saturday, September 22. 

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