Titusville Playhouse fires on all cylinders with its very funny, wacky and endearing production of “A Tuna Christmas.”
Starring a couple of stage pros — Patrick Sullivan and Steven Heron — the shows is packed full of what you have come to expect of “A Tuna Christmas.”
Written by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, “A Tuna Christmas” paints portraits of the quirky characters inhabitating the small fictional town, Tuna, Texas. The conceit is that the all 22 Tuna citizens are fleshed out by two actors.
While easy caricature is appealing, Sullivan and Heron go further and bring out rich moments to each of the characters.
One of the sweetest in this quirky cast is Jody Bumiller, a young man recently released from juvenile detention. Mr. Sullivan has some very nice stage moments as Jody, especially when ancient Aunt Pearl gives him a gift, he turns and rather throws the line away “You’re crazy, Pearl.” Those words are filled with warmth and admiration and such tenderness. It’s this type of nuance that makes Mr. Sullivan’s performance so winning.
Mr. Heron also hits the sweet spot as Pearl Burras. Although he is so very adapt at the visual gag (watch that pendulous bust), he also lets the quirky sink into some deeper notes.
Now wait. Don’t think this is simply a “very special” comedy. Titusville Playhouse’s “A Tuna Christmas” sparkles with fun and enough sillyness to keep you laughing throughout. Mr. Sullivan is a crack up as tap dancing, petulant teenager Charlene Bumiller and nobody has better “ring, ring” telephone gags than double-taking Mr. Heron.
Kudos also to: dressers Katy Ball, Jill Goessel and Hannah Ball whose backstage work make the show possible; costume designer Katy Ball; wig designer Kelly Reed; lighting designer Philip Lupo, who manages to separate multiple acting spaces and facilitates a nice payoff in the second act; and sound designer Philip Lupo.
There is no director listed in the program, so it looks like the actors directed themselves.
It’s such fun to watch two pros have at this show. It’s worth your while to take a heapin’ helping of Titusville’s “A Tuna Christmas.”
SIDE O’ GRITS: “A Tuna Christmas” runs through Dec. 18, $14 to $16. Titusville Playhouse performs at Emma Parrish Theatre, 301 Julia St., Titusville. Call 321-268-1125 or visit www.titusvilleplayhouse.com.