Deep in the Heart of Tuna | The Buena at Pride Arts Center | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

Deep in the Heart of Tuna Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater) Image

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through March 5 2017

This New American Folk Theatre production compiles scenes from the first two (Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas) of the four plays written by Ed Howard, Joe Sears, and Jaston Williams about the fictional town of Tuna, Texas. Yet what's commendable about the series—such as its gentle humor and amusing quick changes (each of the two actors plays multiple characters)—fails to overcome its lamentable qualities, like predictable jokes and a dependence on well-worn good-old-boy stereotypes. Comedic virtuosos might make this material sing—Sears and Williams toured for 30 years playing these characters, until Sears retired in 2012—but the two actors director Derek Van Barham recruited, Anthony Whitaker and Grant Drager, are merely pretty good, better at making these cartoon characters sympathetic and likable than at making them funny. The result is an evening that feels at once too short and too long, full of wry smiles but few belly laughs. —Jack Helbig

Price: $20

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