I think the phrase to describe the Lake George Dinner Theatre experience this season is: “A good time was had by all.”
WHERE: Lake George Dinner Theatre, Holiday Inn, Route 9, Lake George
WHEN: Through Oct. 18
HOW MUCH: $56 to $32.
MORE INFO: 668-5762, ext. 411
The experience begins with a cocktail, if you are so inclined, and then a meal, and a curtain speech to a packed house by recently appointed producer Terry Rabine, who offers congratulations to those in the audience celebrating birthdays or anniversaries. The mood is jolly, there is a great deal of good will and loosening of belts, and then the show begins. This year, it is “Greater Tuna,” a quirky comedy examining the lives of residents of Tuna, Texas, as they listen to the only radio station in town — OKKK.
Ably directed by Helena Binder, the characters are all played by two men, Charles Stransky and Alex Dittmer. The best part is they are fine actors capable of defining each character’s specific objectives. The characters are not all that likable or even interesting, but the performances are remarkable.
Playing multiple roles
The play begins at the station where Thurston (Stransky) and Arles (Dittmer) begin the morning’s broadcast, which includes a report on the winners of the local high school’s essay contest. One of the winners is an essay entitled “Human Rights: Why Bother?” There is a farm report, a weather report predicting heat, humidity and a dust storm, and an advertisement for Didi’s Used Weapons. “If Didi’s can’t kill it, it’s immortal,” proclaims Didi (Dittmer). There is also a report of the sighting of a UFO. At the end of the broadcast, the two hosts find they have failed to turn on the power switch and must do it all over again.
The action moves on to the home of Bertha (Stransky), a troubled club woman with three children, all played by Dittmer, and a cheating husband (Stransky). Bertha is heading a committee to censor certain offensive books from the library. “ ‘Roots’ only shows one side of slavery,” she says righteously to a reporter for Intellect Magazine (Dittmer). Bertha has a sister (Stransky) who accidentally kills her husband’s bird dog with one of her “bitter pills,” which are strychnine-laced dog biscuits she distributes to wandering canines to protect her chickens.
Well, you get the idea. There are many other characters and similar off-beat, often silly situations, and some go on a tad too long. But if “Greater Tuna” is less than satisfying theater, it is well served by Lake George Dinner Theatre.
I must tell you that the meal was delicious. My congenial table mates, who I had never met before, shared with me that their meals, a generous slice of vegetable lasagna and a beef dish, were as tasty as my own baked salmon entree. The desserts are stupendous and the wait staff is accommodating.
The Lake George Dinner Theatre experience this season is, as it always has been, just plain fun.