Walking from the hallway onto the main stage of The PLAYShop, the first thing you’ll notice is the set design. Quite instantly, it captures the mood and theme of the Savannah Repertory Theatre’s “Greater Tuna.” With various iconography of Americana art, and a Texas state flag painted on the background, you know you’re in for a good time. However, what you don’t know is the very awkward attempts the play makes to be something greater and deeper than that.
Those looking for a coherent story or a compelling narrative will be slightly disappointed. It’s a slice of life tale as well as a broad satire about the right-wing Americana. Set in the 1970s to 80s in what’s considered to be the “third smallest town” in Texas, every archetype of Texans as well as Southerners, is portrayed with rapid fire pace.
Both actors, Jack Herholdt and Ken Neil Hailey, know their craft and present some great chemistry as well as a knack for blending in. The costumes help with the actors shifting into their roles; all of them having a specific taste while being different enough to show small glimpses of each character. The characters, while awful people, are so endearing and campy, you’ll at least leave with a good chuckle by the end of it.
However, one of the various problems with the play the central story, the recent death of a local judge, just isn’t developed to its fullest potential. This statement could also apply to some of the main characters. Sometimes, we get a glimpse of something deeper, like Bertha Bumiller early on, but these moments aren’t fully explored.
Of course, those moments are minute compared to the bigger joke and character interactions, which is what “Greater Tuna” is: a satirical character piece of Texas and the Greater South.
Performances of “Greater Tuna” run until May 28. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Savannah Repertory Theatre’s website.