Road Trip!: A Dozen Texas Eccentrics Visit Sin City in the Towne Players’ Production of “Tuna Does Vegas”

Greg Flowers (left) and Tim Stancil star in the Towne Players' of Garner's community-theater production of "Tuna Does Vegas"
Greg Flowers (left) and Tim Stancil star in the Towne Players’ of Garner’s community-theater production of “Tuna Does Vegas”

The first play of the Towne Players of Garner’s 2013 season is Tuna Does Vegas, a madcap comedy penned by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard and sassily staged in Garner by Towne Players artistic director Beth Honeycutt. This knee-slapping community-theater production of Messrs. Williams, Sears, and Howard’s third sequel to Greater Tuna  (1981) stars Greg Flowers and Tim Stancil as radio station OKKK’s crusty conservative disc jockeys Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie and a dozen or so other eccentric denizens of the “third-smallest town in Texas” who experience an epic case of culture shock when they travel to Sin City.

Tim Stancil is a hoot as DJ Arles Struvie, who acts uncharacteristically romantic when he whisks his wife (the former Bertha Bumiller) away to Vegas to renew their wedding vows on Valentine’s Day. He is also hilarious as tough-as-a-nickel steak Didi’s Used Weapons owner Didi Snavely (her motto: “If we can’t kill it, it’s immortal”), Greater Tuna Humane Society employee and all-around do-gooder Petey Fisk, town snob and Smut-Snatchers of the New Order vice president Vera Carp, Tastee Kreme Diner waitress Helen Bedd, and Hula Chateaux concierge Anna Conda and acupuncturist Wo Hu.

Greg Flowers is delightful as DJ Thurston Wheelis; second honeymooner Bertha Bumiller Struvie; high-strung Tuna, TX drama teacher Joe Bob Lipsey; and especially Bertha Bumiller’s curmudgeonly aunt Pearl Burras, who secretly poisons her neighborhood’s dogs. Aunt Pearl’s unexpected encounter with a porn channel on her hotel-room TV is a wordless wonder in which Aunt Pearl’s facial expression changes from horror to curiosity.

Tuna Does Vegas is a frisky romp through familiar territory, but there are plenty of surprise twists. This time, “What Happens in Vegas …” does not “[Stay] in Vegas,” much to the delight of Triangle theatergoers. The show concludes its all-too-brief two-weekend run at 2 and 8 p.m. today in the Garner Performing Arts Center (formerly Garner Historic Auditorium).

The Towne Plays present TUNA DOES VEGAS at 2 and 8 p.m. Jan. 26 in the Garner Performing Arts Center, 742 W. Garner Rd., Garner, North Carolina 27529.

TICKETS: $12 ($10 students and seniors 55+).

BOX OFFICE: Tickets will be sold at the door.

SHOW/SEASON: http://www.towneplayers.org/performances/current-season/.

PRESENTER: http://www.towneplayers.org/.

VENUE: http://www.garnerperformingartscenter.com/.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.garnerperformingartscenter.com/Directions.asp.

OTHER LINKS:

Tuna Does Vegas: http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/2934/tuna-does-vegas (Samuel French, Inc.).

Beth Honeycutt: https://www.facebook.com/beth.honeycutt2 (Facebook).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Review, a FREE weekly e-mail arts newsletter. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Review.

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To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Review previews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).