WHEN YOU'VE HAD A show running for several months, it's a hit. When it's run for several years, it's a legend. But when you've been doing the same play, or variants thereof, for 15 years, it's a franchise.
Joe Sears as Aunt Pearl Burras: the laughs never stop.
Red, White, and Tuna
Moore Theater, ends April 25
Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, as Joe Sears and Jaston Williams (the show's original stars and two-thirds of the writing team) demonstrate in Red, White, and Tuna, the third part of their parody of the conservative spleen of America's heartland—Tuna, Texas. As with Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas, this is more spoof than pointed satire, with such unlikely characters as Didi Snavely, the proprietor of a used weapons store; the frequently imprisoned Reverend Spikes; Tastee Kreme waitresses and potato-salad pushers Helen and Inita; and sadly outnumbered animal activist Petey Fisk—all of them brought together through the business of everyday life and the broadcasts of Radio OKKK.
While the comedy of this warped Our Town is generally as good as a great sit-com, what raises it to the exceptional is that all the inhabitants of Tuna, from geriatric aunts to hard-working midgets, are played by Sears and Williams, who've raised quick costume changes to a fine art. These characters are all stereotypes, but the creators have such obvious affection for them that the show's only real fault, an overlong second half, is probably caused by their reluctance to leave any of their characters' lives unresolved. No matter; though I wouldn't choose to live there, Tuna proves again to be a very fun place to visit.