The more time I spend in Fort Worth the more I like it. While I am a Dallas Queen through and through, Fort Worth offers a charm all its own. Whether it is Downtown's Sundance Square or the West 7th Cultural District there are plenty of reasons to get out early before a night of theater in Fort Worth.
My most recent excursion was for the hysterical romp A Tuna Christmas. The sequel to Greater Tuna, with its' focus on the holidays, we find the residents of Texas' third smallest town, are still as big a mess as ever. The holiday's in Tuna mean the community production of A Christmas Carol, the Holiday Yard Display Contest and the mystery of the Christmas Phantom.
Stanley Bumiller is home from prison with only his performance in the community play needed to complete his probation, but that happening is iffy, as the theater has not paid its' electric bill, and the lights may be cut off at any minute. Aunt Pearl is doing everything in her power to make sure Stanley completes his probation so he is free to get out of Tuna and have a shot in life.
Add to the plot Bertha Bumiller's desire for an old fashioned family Christmas, but that looks unlikely as her husband is off God knows where, the only thing we are sure of, he is with another woman. DiDi Snavely is a wreck, she is worried her mother may blow up her used weapon shop at any minute. And then there is Vera Carp. Vera is here bigger than ever. Vera has won the Holiday Yard Display Contest fourteen years in a row, and this year she has gone all out adding live sheep to her nativity scene. Vera's phone calls, and communication challenges with her domestic Lupe, are side splitting.
All the Tuna plays are a riotous good time. Here the Christmas back drop adds to the hilarity, because we can all identify with the plight of these characters. We all know these people, sadly it is likely many people like these are a part of your own family. Creators and Writers Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard use the advantage of this familiarity to pull us into their world. This is funny because we all can identify.
This production is especially fun because series creators Joe Sears and Jaston Williams take on the twenty plus roles they created for the stage so many years ago. The Tuna plays are the most produced of any play, but any production without Sears and Williams is somewhat of a let down once you have seen them inhabit this town.
With lines like “Don't just stand there like a government employee.” and “My husband is as useless as ice trays in hell.” there is no shortage of laughter. This is biting gay humor at its best. The satire is scathing, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out there are gay men behind Tuna, Texas, I'm sorry straight men aren't this clever.
Christmas can be a stressful time. It is likely at some point this holiday season you will be in situations with people you normally wouldn't socialize with. If you can remember the fun spin these men have put on the holidays, maybe your Christmas will be a little easier this year. The message here, don't take it all so seriously!
A Tuna Christmas starring Series Creators Jaston Williams and Joe Sears as the entire town of Texas' third smallest town plays Fort Worth's Casa Manana through Sunday, November 20th. Tickets are $47-$67 and available at casamanana.org. The theater doesn't skip a beat, launching “Santa Clause-The Musical” the following Saturday. Based on the book “The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus” by L Frank Baum (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz). Here you will learn all you ever wanted to know about Santa, while enjoying classic Christmas Carols and fun new songs. Santa Claus-The Musical runs November 26th – December 23, with tickets at $20. & $25. Also available at casamanana.org.
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