Two theaters opened shows this weekend, Theatre on the Square and Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre, that, in quality, were at opposite sides of the spectrum.
Bart Lovins (left) and Jody Cook star in ‘Greater Tuna’ at Beef & Boards through Jan. 10.
First, the good. Greater Tuna at Beef & Boards is a riotous look at life in the tiny town of Tuna, Texas. Jody Cook and Bart Lovins portray many of the town’s inhabitants in super-quick costume and character changes. The center of the action is the local radio station, OKKK. From an old woman taking out her frustrations on a dead judge laying in his casket (who died wearing a woman’s swimsuit), to a meeting of the Smut Snatchers (who feel words such as “hot” and “nuts” should be removed from the dictionary), each skit is a send-up of uber-right-wing, conservative thought. One character, a lonely PETA member who runs the local Humane Society and sports a hat proclaiming “Save the Squirrels,” gets jabbed as the sole voice of humanitarianism among his cracker companions. Cook, who also directs, and Lovins are simply hysterical in this production that takes a slightly more risqué turn for the dinner theater, with exemplary results. The show has a limited run, closing Jan. 10. Call for reservations at 872-9664. B&B is located at 9301 N. Michigan Road. On a lower note, Theatre on the Square’s premiere of local actor/director Tony McDonald’s Catch, about men who purposefully try to become HIV positive, was a fumble. The incredibly trite dialogue is coupled with some of the limpest acting I have ever witnessed. Director Jon Lindley wins the prize for creating the noisiest scene changes ever, and folding them over monologues. To top it off, there is ’70s porn music and unnecessary graphic scenes of men gettin’ it on — this is, after all, TOTS’ annual Naked Man in January play; I think we are all exhausted with this concept. Let me make this easy on you: You can have HIV (as opposed to full-blown AIDS) and not know it. Testing is a really, really good idea because there is still NO CURE for HIV or AIDS, but the earlier you learn about the infection the better. The Damien Center offers confidential and free Rapid HIV Tests, which give you results in 20 minutes. Testing center hours are Tuesdays-Fridays, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. and Mondays, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. No appointment is necessary but encouraged. For more information, go to The Damien Center at 1350 N. Pennsylvania, call them at 317-632-0123, toll free at 800-213-1163, TTY at 317-632-4259 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.damien.org. I just saved you from having to sit through this pornographic after-school special … and the above information wasn’t even offered in any medium at the show. Catch runs through Jan. 24; Theatre on the Square, 627 Mass. Ave., 637-8085.