'Tuna' actors show quick change skills, not only in costumes but personas

Thursday, October 6, 2005
Jody Cook and Quin Gresham provide solid laughs in "Greater Tuna," now showing at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre.

Throughout his time at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, Quin Gresham has played a number of memorable characters. With "Greater Tuna" he doubles that list.

Gresham, Lyceum artistic director, and Jody Cook jump in and out of characters with an agility that highlights their skill at capturing the basic personas and giving them life.

As the duo quick-change through the population of Tuna, Texas, the audience is treated to a comedic tour-de-force.

Gresham makes his mark early as Didi Snavely, but had the audience in stitches as Charlene Bumiller. His portrayal of church-going busy body Vera Carp was accurate enough to have at least one person in the audience saying "She reminds me of ... ."

Cook, who is making his Lyceum debut in the production, made a good first impression. Bringing experience from performing the play at the Cumberland County Playhouse and the Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, he displays a gift for timing and delivery that had the audience in stitches. His performances as Bertha Bumiller and Aunt Pearl Burras were among the funniest moments on the Lyceum stage in recent memory.

Director Cathey Sawyer paces the production perfectly, keeping the action popping as characters come and go with mind-boggling frequency.

The costumes designed by Garth Dunbar added the icing to the cake. While each creates a distinct personality for its character, the costumes for Charlene and Pearl are impeccable, garnering nearly as many laughs as the performances of the actors in them.

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