Review: Tasty ‘Tuna’ in Las Vegas

Good news for “Greater Tuna” fans: When the crazy characters of Tuna venture outside of their beloved third-smallest town in Texas for Las Vegas, they’re as just sassy, sweet and funny as they are at home.

“Tuna Does Vegas,” the fourth installment in the “Greater Tuna” comedies, onstage at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre, finds busy actors Joe Sears and Jaston Williams as appealing, endearing and adept as when they began nearly 30 years ago.

Once again, the fellas play all of the show’s characters, from old favorites Arlis Strivie (Williams) and his wife Bertha Bumiller (Sears) to Sin City hotel manager Anna Conda (Williams) and security officer Shot (Sears).

The consistently funny dialogue — the majority of the jokes hit — is what makes “Vegas” such a treat.

But equally invigorating, as in all of the “Tuna” plays, is the pleasure the audience counts on anticipating when one of the actors exits the stage — for it will be only a matter of seconds before he’ll be back front and center, wearing another adorable, crazy or hysterical getup.

Linda Fisher’s spot-on costumes — from Bertha’s hot pink-and-chartreuse pantsuit to a couple of glitzy Elvis impersonator jumpsuits — look fantastic on Williams and Sears, truly masters of the quick change.

The plot revolves around Arlis and Bertha’s vacation to Vegas, where they plan to renew their wedding vows. How most of their fellow Tuna citizens decide to join them comprises the first act: Aunt Pearl (Sears) wants to go to witness the blessed event, animal activist Petey Fisk (Williams) wants to save the mistreated critters there, Vera Carp (Williams) wants to continue her campaign against smut and Tastee Kreme waitresses Inita (Sears) and Helen (Williams) simply want to get away from it all.

Act 2 follows their adventures there, not on the Strip, but in the Hula Chateau hotel downtown.

That “Tuna Does Vegas” isn’t primarily set in Nevada points to its main appeal: the humanity, and universality, of its delightful population. Sears, Williams and their director/co-writer Ed Howard have demonstrated yet again what makes enduring popular entertainment: “Greater Tuna” doesn’t simply skewer its small-town characters and attitudes; it’s a valentine to them.

IF YOU GO

Tuna Does Vegas

Where: Curran Theatre, 445 Geary St., San Francisco

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 2 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday; closes June 28

Tickets: $35 to $75

Contact: (415) 512-7770 or www.ticketmaster.com

artsentertainmentOther Arts

Just Posted

Salesforce Tower and several other buildings in downtown San Francisco can be seen through the fog; climate scientists report that The City’s beloved mascot may be on the decline. (Courtesy Engel Ching)
Is San Francisco losing its fog? Scientists fear the worst

This isn’t just an identity crisis for San Franciscans. It’s an ecological problem

The Bay Area is vying to be one of 16 communities,<ins> spread across the U.S., Canada and Mexico,</ins> to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup soccer championships. Games would be played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. (Courtesy Bay Area Host Committee, World Cup 2026)
Bay Area launches bid to host World Cup games in 2026

FIFA officials pay San Francisco a visit as they tour prospective venues

San Francisco City Administrator Carmen Chu, who took office in February, is in the process of restructuring the sprawling department. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli/Special to The Examiner)
Report knocks city administrator for inefficiency, lack of transparency

‘A culture that allows corruption to take place’

Outside Lands boasts high-quality food and drink from dozens of purveyors, and many are local.<ins> (Courtesy Outside Lands)</ins>
Outside Lands is for food lovers

85 food vendors, 40 wineries, 30 breweries make the festival nourishing to gluttonous

Most Read