‘Red, White, Tuna’ Was Not Just ‘Nother Fish(y) Tale (Solares Hill)

‘Red, White, Tuna’ Was Not Just ‘Nother Fish(y) Tale (Solares Hill)

Posted Sun, May 22, 2011 in Reviews

‘Tain’t true: you can go home again, at least if your names are David Black and Mark Watson, and if home is that hilarious marriage of denim, polyester and all thangs Southern that’s the tiny town named Tuna, Texas.

The show that closed last week at Waterfront Playhouse, “Red, White & Tuna,” celebrated Tuna’s Fourth of July. In the spirit of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Watson and Black reprised the roles they originated in the Waterfront holiday tickler “A Tuna Christmas” in 2002.

Billed in the program as “an affectionate comment on small-town Southern life and attitudes but also a withering satire of the same,” satire trumps affection here, hand over hand. And the actors’ bios in the program read as if created with tongue firmly in each other’s cheek. Wait a minute, that didn’t come out right. Let’s just say that both Black and Watson proved themselves equal to the “Tuna” playwrights — Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Edward Howard — when it came to lacerating comedy.

“Red White & Tuna” debuted in 1998, so director Cameron Murray attempted to update political allusions by throwing in a few contemporary references, such as to Sarah Palin. Young adults probably recognized Clinton if only because of Hillary, but Reagan and Nixon should probably have been changed or cut.

The madcap acting, which deserved and received enthusiastic applause, involved each actor playing 10 roles, some of which kept reappearing and necessitated countless costume changes, most in under 30 seconds. Special cheers go to costumer Carmen Rodriguez, seamstress Ruth Calhoon and especially to the backstage quick-change artists Marc Crow and Kristen Wilson, who appeared (in costume, no less) for a much-deserved curtain call. And substantial credit goes to Murray, as director, who made it all happen.

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