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Friday, December 14, 2012

"A Tuna Christmas" @ The Winningstad Theatre

"A Tuna Christmas" is nearly unbelievable, I knew going in that two actors played a multitude of characters, but I was unsure whether they played them all.... I found myself glancing at the playbill to see who played a particular character, and confirmed that it was indeed one of the two actors.....

Almost as stunning as the number of characters played by two people is the sheer speed at which they transform. For a show whose main source of humor comes from poking fun at the slow pace of life in Texas's tiniest town, things on stage sure move at a breakneck pace. (The biggest laugh I had of the night was over something very simple, one character is on the phone with another, waiting for her to pick-up: all of a sudden the other character rockets on to the scene in a huge easy chair, perfectly encapsulating the split-second timing that is key to the show.)

The scene-stealer of the night for me was Didi Snavely, the owner of the used weapons store, whose slogan is: If we can't kill it, it's immortal. ("Her" sing-song delivery is hilarious!)

Another stand-out is Charlene Bumiller, a depressed teenager.

"A Tuna Christmas" is quite a show, a seemingly impossible undertaking by only two actors, it will put you in the mood for the season, and it will certainly put your idea of hustling  into perspective.....


Jeffrey Jason Gilpin
Alan H. King 

"A Tuna Christmas" runs now through Dec. 23rd. at The Winningstad Theatre located inside the Portland Center for the Performing Arts 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Dinner Detective

I arrived in the reception area for "The Dinner Detective" at the Courtyard Marriott City Center and was asked to pick a name that would be my alias for the evening, I chose "Stephen Hawking" which would get a big laugh....

I took my seat and the show began. "The Dinner Detective" is slightly different from other Interactive Mysteries in that the characters in the show are not obvious at the outset, and you are expected to mingle and "interrogate", rather than have the characters make their way over to you, hence the aliases. While this does serve to enhance the mystery a little bit, I wasn't really in a position to move freely. In fact, I had chosen my seat poorly in relation to where the "stage" ended up being, fortunately a woman (who also turned-out to be one of the actresses) offered to switch seats,  I believe that there was at least one character at each table, and if so, that does help negate the need to move.

All of the actors have fun with their roles and most of the information is revealed in scenes and hand-outs. The solution to the mystery was fittingly obscure, only two people guessed the culprit, and the only one who answered it fully was also the man who the detectives picked on for most of the night, dubbing him "The Rookie"

I had a lot of fun, the three-course meal was very tasty, and missing-out on the mingling portion did not seem to detract too much, although it might be something they should consider changing..... 

"The Dinner Detective" at the Courtyard Marriott City Center, 550 SW Oak St.

Dinner & Show $59.95 (two-for-one deals are sometimes offered on Groupon and LivingSocial....)