Wasatch Theatre's Greater Tuna | Theater | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Wasatch Theatre's Greater Tuna 

Three plays explore community, class and close relationships.

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Though it’s not overkill or roadkill, Greater Tuna is a bittersweet pill. This two-hour window into the most conservative and podunk of towns offers a few laughs, versatile acting and local favorite Charles Lynn Frost, all within the plot constraints.

The town’s citizens are likable, even forgivable, for their ignorance and ridiculousness. There’s Aunt Pearl feeding cyanide-laced biscuits to dogs and running over a dead dog, R.R. Snavely identifying a UFO as a flying chalupa (minus the guacamole) and Vera Carp of Tuna Smut Snatchers censoring classic books. And, of course, the radio station that serves as the farcical informant is named OKKK.

Where Wasatch Theatre Company delivers is with its cast of two, under the direction of Sallie Cooper. Frost (best known as Sister Dottie S. Dixon) and John Rowland stitch together 20 characters seamlessly, changing costumes at staging areas in front of the audience. Numerous mannequin heads create a creepy vibe but are thematically resonant. No matter the scene, it’s as if the entire town is watching—probably a reality in Tuna.

>> Read Rob Tennant's review of The Talented Tenth <<
>> Read Brandon Burt's review of The Glass Menagerie <<

Greater Tuna is only one of four comedic plays, so, lacking conclusion, it seems as though it could ramble on forever. By Act 2, it feels as though it does. While that rambling may be reminiscent of small-town life, the plot’s highs still eventually become exceedingly laborious. At least the cliche, ready-made one-liners, which in abundance seem trite, are saved by the quality of acting.

Rose Wagner Center
138 W. 300 South
Through Jan. 29
WasatchTheatre.org, ArtTix.org

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