Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rudolph, the red-state reindeer

BTG messes with Texas
by Christopher Key

You gotta love Bellingham Theatre Guild director Mish Kriz.  None of these smarmy, seven-hanky Christmas shows for her.  She not only declares war on Christmas, she declares war on Texas, the National Rifle Association, feral sheep, community theatre Christmas shows and political correctness.  And wins!

Let’s be honest here.  A Tuna Christmas is not high theatrical art.  It’s just redneck humor taken to its illogical extreme and it’s a helluva lot of fun.  Especially with the holiday season bearing down on us like a Dallas Cowboys linebacker.

Photo credit - David Cohn

This is one of those shows actors love because they get to play multiple parts, dress in drag and can’t possibly go too far over the top.  Les Campbell and John Gonzales get to play the entire population of Tuna, Texas, male, female and otherwise and they obviously have the time of their lives doing it.  It shows because they take the audience right along with them into tinfoil-hat territory.

Photo credit - David Cohn

Kriz couldn’t have chosen two better actors to insult everyone who has ever lived below the Mason-Dixon line.  Campbell has appeared onstage wearing nothing but a guitar.  Gonzales once came to a Halloween party dressed as Sarah Palin and looked better than the real thing.  QED.

The real heroes of this show, however, are the dressers, those unsung backstage heroes who manage enough costume changes to make Dolly Parton blanch.  They are Christy Ham, Kerry Bates, Jillian Dodson and Sue Dodson.  They get a bow at the end and they deserve your applause.

Of course, the costumer who made them all crazy is Genny Cohn.  She obviously knows her redneck stuff and this show is heavily dependent on camo-dressed gun shop owners and flouncy waitresses.

Her hubby, David, designed the clever set which includes a flying-saucer abduction scene that is worth the price of admission all by itself. 

There is enough country-themed Christmas music to fill a ten-gallon hat with barf, enough tasteless immigrant jokes to please Donald Trump and enough liberal snobbery to make every Bellingham resident proud.  What’s not to like?

Photo credit - David Cohn

A Tuna Christmas plays November 27 – December 13 at the BTG Playhouse, 1600 H Street.  The ticket office is open Tuesday – Saturday 1:00 to 6:00 p.m. at (360) 733-1811. 

You know what worries me?  John Gonzales looks pretty damn hot as a waitress.

# # #

No comments:

Post a Comment