From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Mother Superior takes act to 'Cinema' with hilarious results
June 13, 2007
By Teresa Budasi
Mother Superior doesn't give star ratings. It would probably be against some heavenly code of ethics. She does, however, have plenty to say about the movies, where lapsed Catholics presumably are getting their spiritual guidance these days.
Such is the premise for Vicki Quade's latest one-woman, Catholic-themed play, "Sunday School Cinema," which just opened at the Royal George Theatre.
Mother Superior (an ebullient Elaine Carlson), a nun with a habit of showing up in other Quade productions ("Late Nite Catechism" and "Put the Nuns in Charge"), engages the audience from the get-go in this highly interactive show. Ruler in hand, she scolds any latecomers, asks folks what movies they've seen lately -- which will keep the show fresh from week to week -- and even gives a homework assignment to be done during intermission.
"The Song of Bernadette," that 1943 tearjerker about a peasant girl whose miraculous vision of a woman in white sends her little French town into a tailspin, is Mother Superior's favorite movie (go figure), and her enthusiastic lecture -- complete with an audience-assisted re-enactment -- will make you want to queue it up on your Netflix account. And to hammer home the point of just how good a movie it is, Mother Superior tells us that the woman who played Bernadette -- Jennifer Jones, who went on to win the Oscar -- was "really acting," because in reality "she was a divorced Protestant!"
The partly scripted/partly improvisational lecture continues to evolve in funny and unexpected ways. Mother Superior's riff on leprosy in the movies as it relates to actress Jean Simmons is a crackup. And then she tries to make a correlation between St. Michael the Archangel and Samuel L. Jackson's character in "Snakes on a Plane."
In the second act, Mother Superior divulges a surefire formula to determine if deceased actors have gone to heaven or hell (it involves math, so you might want to pay attention) and then leads a group sing-along.
The audience participation as well as the actor's ability to remain on her toes is what makes or breaks a show like "Sunday School Cinema." Carlson, who does her part with her quick wit, has an obvious comfort with the character. So, the rest is up to us; just as with Sunday mass, you get out of it what you put in.
And if you're particularly attentive, you might walk away with a St. Christopher medal or a glow-in-the-dark rosary.
From the Chicago Tribune
ON THE FRINGE :: New reviews of Chicago's diverse theater scene.
Stern but saucy…feather-light entertainment
By Kerry Reid
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the parochial-school classroom, Vicki Quade unleashes a nun once again. Well, if Spidey, the Pirates, and Clooney's new Rat Pack can all come out and play in the multiplex yet again, why shouldn't a stern-but saucy-nun have another sequel?
The latest installment in the "Late Nite Catechism" franchise, "Sunday School Cinema," features the Mother Superior character (played by Elaine Carlson) holding forth on Hollywood.
As with "Catechism" and "Put the Nuns in Charge!," those with an intimate knowledge of pre-Vatican II doctrine will probably enjoy this show the most. Knowing 1943's "The Song of Bernadette" also gives you an inside edge. But Mother Superior works hard to make everyone feel welcome -- even if that means providing a tissue for a latecomer in a camisole top to cover up her "distracting" chest area. By the show's end, we've seen a re-enactment of "The Sound of Music" with religious figurines, and learned startling news about which stars of the silver screen are in heaven and which ones are, um, elsewhere.
It's feather-light entertainment, but at least Mother Superior makes sure everyone stays on their best behavior during the show.