Stage Capsule Reviews

Our critics weigh in on local theater

Tuna Does Vegas It's somewhat less than hilarious to see what those two wily stage magicians, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams (abetted by co-writer/director Ed Howard) have in store for the inhabitants of Tuna, Texas, our state's third-smallest town, when they pack all the inhabitants off to Sin City for this world premiere two-man show. Our loopy favorites are pretty much front and center (sweet and crafty Aunt Pearl, gun-totin' Didi Snavely, man-hungry Inita and Helen from the Tastee Kreme, pinched Vera Carp, P.E.T.A.-obsessed Petey Fisk, et al.), but so are a few new crazies, with cheapo Vegas impresario and female lounge lizard Anna Conda leading the pack, and two Elvis impersonators right behind. These new faces are welcome additions indeed and nailed by Sears and Williams with the patented pinpoint accuracy and gently biting satire that's a hallmark of their Tuna franchise (Greater Tuna, Tuna Christmas, Red, White, and Tuna), but Vegas, for its many charms and belly laughs, treads water. Too many scenes lack focus or simply meander until a snazzy punch line pricks us awake. And the guys' split-second costume changes (the two actors play all the characters) have slowed down a bit, which may be nothing more than backstage mishaps, but the sluggishness also shows up in the script. Although this is the weakest Tuna of the four, there are enough laughs to compensate for the storyline. Just to see Didi Snavely dragging on a cigarette like it's life support, or sweet Bertha exposing herself to a water pistol-packing Arles, or Aunt Pearl and Vera scrambling for the winning coins that spew out of a slot machine are enough reasons to drive to Galveston, where these large-hearted Tuna cartoons are amply displayed. Through August 19. The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice St. in Galveston, 409-765-1894. — DLG

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