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Theater Colorado Review- A Tuna Christmas

By Bill Wheeler, published on Theater Colorado Blog Dec. 16, 2015


Playwrights:  Jason Williams, Joe Sears, Ed Howard
Company:  Millibo Art Theatre (MAT)
Date of Performance:  Sunday, December 13, 2015
If you’re looking for a hilarious, non-stop, high energy Christmas comedy, look no further.  A Tuna Christmas at the Millibo Art Theatre (MAT) is exactly what you’re looking for.
Tuna Texas is the setting; it’s small town rural red neck Texas at it’s funniest.  Populated by characters like Didi, owner of Didi’s Used Weapons (“If we can’t kill it, it’s immortal”),Vera Carp , town snob and acting leader of the Smut-Snatchers of the New Order (“until the Rev. Spikes gets out of prison”), and Helen Bedd, a waitress at the Tasty-Creme, it’s, well, a red neck menagerie.
It takes some high level comedic talent to pull Tuna off, and the MAT has two of the best.  Arguably the funniest guys ever to grace a stage in southern Colorado, Sammy Gleason and Sammie Joe Kinnett play 20 different characters in this hilarious send up of small town Texas at Christmas.  The subtitle for A Tuna Christmas could well be “The Two Sammies Go Full Tuna.”
Sammy Gleason (left) and Sammie Joe Kinnett (right).
Gleason and Kinnett are so convincing in drag that at times it’s a jolt to see them go back to playing the guys of Tuna.  Gleason has mastered spike heels, and his ruby red glitter footwear is the perfect look for Vera Carp.  Sammie Joe Kinnett has a solid comedic resume, and this is a chance to see him up close, personal, and unleashed.  His Bertha is so funny that you may have trouble seeing her.  The tears of laughter can obscure your view.
Given the antics and machine gun pace, it’s almost inevitable that A Tuna Christmas will devolve into improvisation.  And it does.  That’s a good thing, as both Sammies are quick wits who can turn a funny line into an altogether hilarious one.  You know they’re on fire when you hear the peals of laughter rolling through the room as they add some unexpected hilarity to the script.
A Tuna Christmas is a first rate laugh out loud gem done by two guys who live for roles like these.  Not only will you have a lot of fun, but you’ll also get to see two guys at the top of their game doing what they love.
A Tuna Christmas may be a little too adult for the young ones.  That said, however, there is nothing remotely offensive here in my view.  (I do admit that there may be a few sensitive Texans who will take exception to the script.)
Free parking at the door, and a two minute walk to Bristol Brewing Company.  We had an issue that last time we tried Bristol, but our stop there before A Tuna Christmas was fine.  If you order the Black Lager, they will make a $3.00 Indy Gives contribution to your favorite local charity (and that includes the Millibo).  Where else can you get a guilt free beer and help out a great cause?
This show closes on December 27, 2015.
PHOTO CREDITS Millibo Art Theatre
Director: Joye Levy
Set Design:  Roy Ballard
NEARLY EVERYBODY:  Sammie Joe Kinnett
EVERYBODY ELSE:  Sammy Gleason

Author: Jim Jackson