Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Greater Tuna"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

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note: entire contents copyright 1998 by Beverly Creasey

Tuna Surprise
at The Works Theater

by Beverly Creasey

Either "Greater Tuna" has matured, like fine wine or old cheese, or the missing ingredients were John Kuntz and Troy Siegfried last time I saw it. Don't tell the show's creators (Jaston Williams, Joe Sears & Ed Howard) but these two new lads from Boston outmaneuver Williams and Sears by a country mile. The show wore itself out real quick back in that big old theater downtown, but now the Tuna is sandwiched into an itty bitty space at the old Boston Baked Theater, and it fits! Sure, some of the silly bits still run on too long and come back too often, but Kuntz and Siegfried know their way around a slow burn. They single-handedly portray every bumpkin in the sovereign city of Tuna, Texas. And there's a passel.

Petey Fisk (Kuntz) is worried to death about ducks and Pearl Burras (Siegfried) intends to send a few poodles to theirs. Each vignette is loosely tied to the radio. For example, Petey appeals for animal rights on station OKKK's "Speak-Out Minute", as does an emphesemic representative of the KKK. (That is the only non-funny bit in the collection.) Best of all is Mother Bumiller (the hilarious Siegfried) trying in vain to corral her wayward younguns --- all portrayed to a T by rubberfaced Kuntz. My favorite is Charlene who, despite her hopes and dreams, will never, never make cheerleader.

Kudos to director Jennifer Brown for the crackerjack pacing, and to dressers Diane Angeline, Georgia Maheras and Sarah Patchett who get all these good old hard-shelled Baptists in and out of overalls and frocks without dropping a stitch; to Jim Larkin for his genuine Texas set --- and to Frank Simpson for executing it --- and to Benjamin Emerson for some fine country music, and to Deb Reitman for some mighty frisky lighting. The impressive array of costumes (from a sheriff's get-up to matching Sunday-go--to-meeting dresses) were contributed by Jeff Burrows, Janet Mayers, Andrew Poleszak, Siegfried himself, and Denise Wallace.

"Greater Tuna" (till 31 July)
255 Elm Street, SOMERVILLE

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide