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.
Tuna Does Vegas: http://www.samuelfrench.com/p/2934/tuna-does-vegas (Samuel French, Inc.).
Beth Honeycutt: https://www.facebook.com/beth.honeycutt2 (Facebook).
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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