Little details at times can go unnoticed but in Williamston’s last production of the season, “Red, White and Tuna,” it’s proven that the little details can make all the difference to make a show go from ordinary to extraordinary.
“Red, White and Tuna,” written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard and directed by Williamston Executive Director John Lepard, is the second Tuna show that Williamston has done, including last fall’s “Greater Tuna,” and quickly brings viewers back to the tiny town of Tuna, Texas, where the Fourth of July Tuna High School Class Reunion is happening, and a good chunk of the population with it.
With characters ranging from siblings Charlene and Stanley Bumiller and their mother, Bertha, to radio DJ’s Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie, it’s easy to say that there is a wide variety in Tuna’s 474 person population, and Aral Gribble and Wayne David Parker bring something unique to each of them, making none like the other. Those little details that I mentioned above really come into play with every character.
Yes, you read that right for those that haven’t seen a Tuna show, the entire town is played by two men, with each playing 10 very distinct residents.
From the very beginning, where Gribble and Parker are playing flower children Star Birdfeather and Amber WIndchime, it’s shown that each is beyond committed to every single one of the characters they’re playing, bringing easy laughs to the audience, with some humor a little darker than the rest. Young, old, male, female, Gribble and Parker really bring it no matter who the character.
I absolutely loved Gribble’s Petey Fisk, head of Tuna’s Humane Society, an adorable dork who loves animals and Vera Carp, Head of Tuna society, who is that mean girl that everyone secretly hated in high school but one heck of a funny character to watch Gribble play.
Parker’s Joe Bob Lipsey, the artistic director of the Tuna Little Theatre, who sounds just like Harvey Fierstein and is by far the most flamboyant of the town, is where Parker really shined, even though I also really enjoyed his Aunt Pearl, who had me constantly laughing throughout.
As much as Gribble and Parker brought to the residents it wouldn’t have quite been the same if it hadn’t been for Costume Designer, Karen Kangas-Preston, bringing more uniqueness to each character, with such small details as Petey’s t-shirt, with sayings such as “Break for armadillos” written on it and Joe Bob’s scarves, adding details that tell more about who these characters really are.
I also really enjoyed Janine Woods Thoma’s scenic design and Alex Gay’s lighting design, making it possible for there to be sunrises and fireworks inside the theater.
Even though some characters are seen time and time again, while others are only shown once or twice, they all manage to intertwine into a non-stop, must-see, comedic thrill ride, that isn’t something that you will be forgetting anytime soon.