REVIEWSTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Deep in the Heart of Tuna

By Ed Howard, Joe Sears, & Jaston Williams.

Directed by Derek Van Barham.

Produced by New American Folk Theatre.

At The Buena at Pride Arts Center, Chicago.

Satire of rural Texas life is filled with twang and poor archetypes.

The most impressive elements in Deep in the Heart of Tuna are the vivid costumes by Kate Setzer-Kamphausen and the versatility of the two mean who play various roles, including many drag roles. This satire isn’t funny and there were only a few laughs on opening night. The  twang Texas rural dialect quickly became tedious and the local references a strain on credulity begging the question” who is the audience for this unfunny satirical comedy?

We meet Bertha Bumiller, played by Anthony Whitaker in drag (as he does for all the large-sized woman in the show). We meet her dysfunctional family, boys and girls each play by Grant Drager with him in drag often. The versatility of the Whitaker and Drager in drag with their wacky costumes and flamboyancy was together with their varied  authentic rural twang was impressive but the trite unfunny, script with often forced bits quickly became boring. I guess I’m just not enough of a hick to appreciate that humor. Us city-dwellers find this offensive. While I do appreciate the skill of the two players, I find the depiction of life in Tuna, Texas to be unimpressive.

The skilled drag acting and versatility may make Deep in the Heart of Tuna worth seeing for some? Just be warned.

Somewhat Recommended.

Tom Williams.

Date Reviewed: February 8, 2017.

For more info checkout the Deep in the Heart of Tuna page at

At The Buena at Pride Arts Center, 4147 N, Broadway, Chicago, IL,, call 872-588-5760,, tickets $20, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 1 hour 50 minutes with intermission, through March 5, 2017.