If you’re like me, you need something mid-December to take the sweet edge off all those “Nutcrackers”, “Christmas Carols” and figgy puddings. My solution? “A Tuna Christmas.” No, it’s not edible, or even fishy. It’s a two-man, 22-character comedy opening this weekend, it’s a collaboration between Lakewood Playhouse and Tacoma Little Theatre, and it’s incredibly funny.
“Tuna Christmas” is the second in a series of comedies from writers Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard, who also tour the country with it. Set in the parochial little town of Tuna, Texas (the third-smallest in the state, apparently) the plays are hilarious tours-de-forces for the two actors in the cast, who run in and out of tiny scenes from the lives of Tuna citizens, throwing off shirts, pulling on skirts, exchanging wigs and generally making mayhem. The actors for this production are Lakewood’s director Marcus Walker and TLT’s director Scott Campbell: These guys did “Greater Tuna” last year while Campbell was still working for Lakewood, and they’re a scream, Campbell’s deadpan humor playing off Walker’s hysterical fussiness (especially his women).
Best of all, this time the show is a true collaboration, playing at both houses (Lakewood first) and with both splitting the costs and revenue. Most of the Tuna characters return and there are some new ones, like the waitresses from the Tasty Creme diner Helen Bedd and Inita Goodwin (puns intended.)
And the plot? “Well, a Christmas phantom is on the loose,” says Campbell, “but it’s a pretty loose plot, just a lot of laughs. It’s such a treat to be onstage with Marcus.”
“Tuna Christmas” runs 8 p.m. Nov. 27, 28, Dec. 4 and 5; 2 p.m. Nov. 29, Dec. 6 at Lakewood; and 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays Dec. 11-20 at TLT. Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd, Lakewood; TLT, 210 N. I St., Tacoma. Tickets $13.50-$21.50 at Lakewood/$16-$24 at TLT. Information: 253-272-2281, www.tacomalittletheatre.com; 253-588-0042, www.lakewoodplayhouse.org