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Two actors liven up 18 characters from Tuna to Las Vegas

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Many of the wacky inhabitants of Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas, return to the Vortex Theatre in “Tuna Does Vegas.” This is the fourth can – installment – of Tuna written by the trio of Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard; all of them have been performed at the Vortex. This is also the first of the Tuna Quartet whose characters venture out of Texas. Is Vegas ready for the quirky denizens of Tuna? Just about.

A total of 18 eccentric characters appear in the play, and they are all performed by two men – Adam Kidd and Patrick Ross. Let me remind you of some. Arliss Struvie’s (Ross) wedding to Bertha Bumiller (Kidd) was planned in “Red, White, and Tuna;” they are now blissfully married and planning to renew their vows in Las Vegas. Arliss operates the local 275-watt radio station with Thurston Wheelis (Kidd), and unwisely tells his local listeners of his vacation plans. One by one, his neighbors decide to travel to Sin City as well.

Vera Carp, the acting president of the Smut Snatchers of the New Order, sees Vegas as a lewd challenge. Lisping lover of animals Petey Fisk plans to check on the treatment of the big cats performing in Vegas. Gun store proprietor Ross’s Didi Snavely (her slogan is “If we can’t kill it, it’s immortal”) wants to attend a gun show, and the Tastee Kreme waitresses Helen Bedd (Ross) and Inita Goodwin (Kidd) – their names say it all – want to meet rodeo cowboys in Vegas. They drive there with Joe Bob Lipsey (Kidd), the community theatre director.

If you go
WHAT: “Tuna Does Vegas” by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard
WHEN: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. through December 16
WHERE: The Vortex Theatre, 2004 1/2 Central, SE
HOW MUCH: $18. Reservations 247-8600

In Las Vegas we meet hotel proprietress, the gripping Anna Conda (Ross), her security man Shot (Kidd), and two dueling Elvis impersonators, among others.

Dean Eldon Squibb acted in the previous Tuna plays, but he has chosen to direct this one. His performers, Adam Kidd and Patrick Ross, are excellent. Both have experience as female impersonators, and each is able to create a splendid panoply of personalities. And they designed their own costumes, as weird and outlandish as the characters wearing them. Specialty costumes (whatever that means) are credited to De La Noche. Whoever is responsible for the wigs deserves credit in the program. Inita’s carmine tresses (Henna No. 44) and Anna’s scarlet tresses were my favorites.

With the help of director Squibb and a crew of dressers, Kidd and Ross brought Tuna to life. Again.
REVIEWIf you goWHAT: “Tuna Does Vegas” by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed HowardWHEN: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. through December 16WHERE: The Vortex Theatre, 2004 1/2 Central, SEHOW MUCH: $18. Reservations 247-8600Web HeadlineHeadlinePhoto CreditPhoto Credit

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— This article appeared on page F6 of the Albuquerque Journal