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Canned Tuna 

Our guest critic this week is Mr. Joe Bob Lipsey of Sand City, Texas

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This is Radio KYCM, broadcasting from Sand City, just down the road from Tuna, the third smallest town in Texas.

“Howdy, y’all. Joe Bob Lipsey here, artistic director of the Tuna Little Theater, with my weekly play review.

“This week, we have A Tuna Christmas, showing through Dec. 19 at the Spo-cain Civic Thee-ay-ter, in which two fine actors, Dan Anderson and Damon Mentzer, portray nearly two dozen different residents of Tuna — many of them women. (Lordy, what actors will do to get a laugh!).

“Reviews at KYCM ask, ‘Why see ’em?’ Well, here’s why: Just before intermission, there’s a scene between two cantankerous old ladies. While Anderson’s Dixie Deberry is working her toothless gums, Mentzer’s Aunt Pearl Burr-ass — with a hitch in her giddyup and balloon boobs a-jigglin’ — concocts practical jokes. The biddies plan to get back at that snob Vera Carp, then help Pearl’s nephew get the heck out of Dodge. Both actors make a big production of oh-so-gingerly lowering their crones’ posteriors onto chairs. (They’re real cards.)

“Why, Mentzer goes so far as to impersonate me, Joe Bob Lipsey (though I didn’t recognize the lard-bellied whiner in his characterization, not one bit).

“Director Bill Marlowe is a Tuna Christmas veteran, having enacted these roles with Michael Weaver in an Actors Rep Thee-ayter show three seasons back. I don’t mean to disparage the work of my fellow thespians, but that production did a better job of showing us both sides of folks like Petey Fisk, who’s always caring for other people’s animals and getting bitten by them (the animals), and like Bertha, who just wants her worthless husband home for Christmas.

“Call me an artiste, but I reckon that even the denizens of our dusty little towns still have more depth than just some fl at piney-woods stereotypes. Still, if you were to ask me, ‘Will the antics in A Tuna Christmas make me laugh, chortle and even snicker?’ I would have to respond just as Arles Struvie always does over at Radio OKKK: ‘They will, they will, they surely will!’ “This is Joe Bob Lipsey, signing off. If anyone listening to this happens to drop by the Tasty-Creme, tell Inita to grill me a double cheeseburger, pronto.”

A Tuna Christmas presents small-town Texas oddballs through Dec. 19 at Spokane Civic Theater, 1020 N. Howard St., on Fridays-Saturdays at 7:30 pm and on Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets: $21; $19, seniors; $14, students; $7, student rush. Visit spokanecivictheatre.com or call 325-2507.

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