As ‘Fierce’ as they come

“Mildred Fierce” is anything but a drag. Olive Another, third from left, and Varla Jean Merman, fourth from left, are especially brilliant.
“Mildred Fierce” is anything but a drag. Olive Another, third from left, and Varla Jean Merman, fourth from left, are especially brilliant. Photo: Michael von Redlich

Varla Jean Merman makes everything more fun. Even the always glittery Gold Dust Orphans seem to sparkle a bit more when the legendary drag performer joins their party.

The statuesque leading ‘lady’ brings much more than a big pair of pumps to Ryan Landry’s latest farce, “Mildred Fierce.” By playing it straight, (OK, by playing it serious), Merman, whose alter-ego is performance artist Jeffery Roberson, delivers impeccably-timed belly laughs in this pulp noir parody of the 1945 Joan Crawford film “Mildred Pierce.” Ever the triple threat, Merman also reminds us she can sing, dance and make musical magic with a can of Cheez Whiz.

While Landry remains faithful to the Academy Award-winning film he lampoons, he still manages to take it too far in all the right places (like naming a restaurant Mildred’s Pie Hole). The result is a gender-bending, tap-dancing, musical extravaganza that is definitely, and thankfully, not wholesome family fare.

The Orphan mainstays are all in attendance. Penny Champayne is a nasty delight as Mildred’s evil daughter Veda. Olive Another is hilarious as Mildred’s friend Ida. Doing double-duty as choreographer and ethically-challenged businessman Wally, Delta Miles delivers his (or is it her?) finest performance to date.

Aside from being the comic brains behind the entire production, Landry also makes a cameo as an uptight elder and a riotous turn as daffy domestic Butterball. Chris Loftus, as always, plays the straight man while Brooks Brasselman gives a dubious orientation to two-timing sleaze Monty Brigadoon.

Amelia Gossett and Lauren Duffy have created one of the best Orphan sets ever and Scott Martino’s outrageous costumes highlight Mildred’s biggest assets. But it’s director James P. Byrne who, somehow, makes it all look effortless.

If you go:

‘Mildred Fierce’
Through March 17
Club Machine
1254 Boylston St., Boston
$40-$50, 800-838-3006
www.brownpapertickets.com/



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.