Sister Myotis’s Bible Camp @ Dorothy Strelsin Theatre, New York

cast list
Todd Berry, Jenny Odle Madden, Steve Swift

directed by
Jerre Dye
A forced lockdown at a Bible Seminar, even one catered by the ladies auxiliary and focusing on being a good wife, sounds a little odd. But when the lockdown is enforced by Sister Myotis, a bittersweet bundle of Southern Christian Redemption swathed in a cocoon of grown-up girl scout drag and concocted by Steve Swift, well, then you got a party on your hands.

And make no mistake, Sister Myotiss 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 whats in store over the course of a week-long female retreat.
Sister Myotiss 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 isnt mocked; Sister Myotis could be Catholic, Jewish, or Amish and the effect would be the same. Sister Myotiss non-denominational Christianity is merely the mountain from which she chooses to descend 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 clichd 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; a trim or two would make the evening tighter. Some of the jokes fall a bit 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 to the proceedings, which keeps the show from feeling like a session with a stand-up comic. And 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.

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