NY Theater Review Joe Regan Jr.
The Gold Dust Orphans is a group headed by Ryan Landry whose home base is Boston and Provincetown. Last year, after a successful run in both those places, they presented an inspired musical take-off on the movie “Mildred Pearce” entitled “Mildred Fierce” at Theatre 80 starring Varla Jean Merman. The group has returned, this time with an elaborate show entitled “Snow White and the Seven Bottoms,” again featuring Merman. This time she doesn’t play Snow White, he plays Prince Charming, in elaborate silver and blue costume. Landry is playing the Evil Queen, and the large company includes Jessica Barstis playing it straight as Snow White; Scott Martino as Price Charming’s Footman; Olive A. Nother as The Magic Mirror, and Oya Cristal as Butch. The hard-working singing and dancing chorus are Sam Reichert, Liza Lott (as Liza,) Tad McKitterick (a bald Charo,) Tim Lawton, Patty York, Shelly Croteau, Christine McVein, Meredith Langton, Briana Scafidi, Leicester Landon and Kelly McCue. The men all have buff bodies and muscular legs and the girls have big bosoms in revealing costumes. James P. Byrne directs them all in a production that is so fast paced you may miss some of the outrageous puns and jokes. Meredith Langton did the vigorous tap dancing choreography.
Everybody must know the story of Disney’s Snow White. In this version, her mother dies giving birth to the Princess in a comic scene that is narrated by bearish Tim Lawton who also has the outrageous opening number “Oh Germany.” Merman as the Prince, in this version, is seeking a virgin bride. Yes, he sings “The Prince’s Song” detailing he needs to find a virgin to pop her cherry! Nother, as the Mirror, has a wonderful song to the Evil Queen “You Don’t Look So Good.” Martino, as the Prince’s Footman, has a lot of classic vaudeville-like patter which is some of the funniest stuff in town.
The seven dwarfs (the “Bottoms”) are all skilled puppeteers and dancers seeking anal gratification and reaching out to Snow White to help them. Of course, the evil queen, told by her mirror that she’s getting old and Snow White is the fairest in the land, hires the most skilled huntsman to kill Snow White. The huntsman is black bitch Oya Cristal who is a professional dominatrix with lots of rich clients. There is a three-headed monster with names of the Kardashian brood (there are lots of Kardashian jokes, including an outrageous one about Bruce Jenner). Barstis sings most of the ballads but you’ll recognize the tunes of the satiric lyrics. There is one elaborate pizza scene that has an outrageous blackout punch line bit of action! The end of the second act is a big disco scene danced by the whole cast, some of them with protuberances on their shorts!
The Gold Dust Orphans is the only group I know who is as skillful at outrageous parody as was Charles Ludlum’s Theater of the Ridiculous. Past productions have been titled “Phantom of the Oprah,” “Mary Poppers,” “Pornocchio,” and “Booty of the Beast.” The audience at the Sunday matinee recognized this with prolonged laughter and cheers. Beware if you’re sitting on the aisles and in the front row…there’s a lot of fourth wall breaking and you may end up with a prop, a loose mustache, or an embrace by Landry or Merman. It’s all in fun and is the perfect entertainment for a gloomy weekend or any other time you are feeling low and want your spirits lifted. It is definitely NOT FOR CHILDREN!
“Snow White and the Seven Bottoms” performs Friday and Saturday at 10:30 PM and Sunday at 3:00 PM through October 26. (There are no performances the weekend of October 3-5,) Theatre 80 is at 80 St. Mark’s Place at First Avenue. For further information go to www.theatre80.net. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Photo Credit: Michael von Redlich