The 2004 Pussy on the House, Ryan Landry's bravura riff on Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, was my introduction to the Gold Dust Orphanage. Where had these bewigged, glittery, outrageous guys been all my life? Scott Martino's ebony-helmet-haired Maggie the Cat in her satin slip and bicep tattoos? Chris Loftus's heartbreaking Brick, drowning in sniffed glue and grief for his dead best friend? Landry's "lezzie" Aunt Sukie, true lover to Larry Coen's roaring Big Mamma? And Big Mamma herself, bellowing beneath a Vesuvius of meringue passing for a hairdo that there is no such thing as "pussy on the house"?
Well, they're back (at Machine through March 20), along with mendacious Mae and Gooper, their passel of no-neck monsters, and Brick's Punxsutawney Phil relative of a lost love in the production that first made me understand what's unique among drag acts about the Orphans. Sure, the shows are technologically inventive: Pussy's second-act flashback in which the dead "Skippah" gets his paws around a tall glass of 80-proof is worth the price of admission. And Landry's script, though it hews close to Tennessee Williams's in humane melodrama, is drop-dead funny. But you know what? The Orphans field some damn fine actors, the result being that you vacillate between tears of laughter and those evoked by the unrequited love and suffering hatched by Williams. Remove the raunchy jokes and the animated raccoon and this is not a bad production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
, Entertainment, Ryan Landry, Theater, More