Tuna Christmas downplays southern camp at Theatre in the Square

In 2001 and again in 2005, William S. Murphey played 40 roles in the comedy Fully Committed at Theatre in the Square. At the Marietta playhouse's A Tuna Christmas, by contrast, Murphey splits the twenty-odd characters with co-star Steve L. Hudson. One would never accuse Murphey of slacking off, but he gives a surprisingly restrained performance in Tuna Christmas – at least as restrained as an actor can get while wearing wigs, old lady dresses and sheriff uniforms.

A Tuna Christmas is the first of three sequels to Greater Tuna, Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard's campy Texas-sized hit about the outlandish goings-on in the Lone Star state's third-smallest town. Strung like chili-pepper Christmas lights, the plot threads in A Tuna Christmas include an annual Christmas yard display contest, a production of A Christmas Carol at a theater about to lose its electricity, the prankish vandalism of the Christmas Phantom, and the hopes of middle-aged mom Bertha Bumiller (Murphey) that her no-account husband will be home for the holidays.

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