Abbott and Costello, Wayne and Garth, and even Jay and Silent Bob, are just a few of the many great male comedic duos that have come and given audiences a good laugh. After seeing the last in Williamston’s Tuna trilogy, “Tuna Does Vegas,” it’s easy to say that Aral Gribble and Wayne David Parker are one of those types of comedic duos, one that you will be talking about long after you leave the theater.
The two-and-a-half hour show, directed by Quintessa Gallinat, starts off with the town’s favorite radio station duo, Arles Struvie (Gribble) and Thurston Wheelis (Parker). Struvie then tells the audience that he and his wife, Bertha Bumiller, are going to Las Vegas to renew their wedding vows. It doesn’t take much to get the rest of the town interested in a trip to Sin City and next thing you know everyone’s going. What ensues is pure comedic gold, combining characters from previous shows with a few new ones (who are as strange as the residents of Tuna, and I say that with nothing but love).
While I enjoyed last summer’s “Red, White and Tuna” there was something about this show that was even better. Maybe it’s the ease and comfort both bring to their many characters, 11 for Gribble and eight for Parker, respectively. Maybe it was the fact that these two bounce off of each other so well, including a couple fantastic moments in Act II that didn’t seem planned. Maybe it was just getting to see them dressed as waitresses Helen Bedd and Inita Goodwin one last time. Whatever it is, it’s working, and keeping audiences howling.
During Act I, Scene 4-which has Vera Carp (Gribble) and Aunt Pearl Burras (Parker) on a plane to Vegas- the audience was laughing so loud that you could barely hear what they were saying. It was a scene that showed off both men’s comedic timing and ended Act I on a high note.
While Gribble and Parker bring this quirky town to life it wouldn’t be without the scripts of Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard. The trio has created shows that are filled with smart humor, ranging from politicians to porn, and “Tuna Does Vegas” shows off their wit again and again. There’s also a whole lot of satire, commenting on small-town America in a way that’s doesn’t feel mean, but is damn funny.
Bartley Bauer does it again with this set, making it easy for Gribble and Parker to go behind it as one character and pop out the doors (which turn into a working elevator in Act II) as another. The landscape painting all along it is beautiful as well. Genesis Garza’s lighting design works wonders and allows for viewers to be able to easily follow the show’s phone conversations. Karen Kangas-Preston’s costumes add a familiar element to the characters (it helps she did costumes for the other two Tuna shows), and the outfits she created for Helen and Inita as female impersonators are plain awesome.