by Sandi Durell


Since I happen to be spending some time here in Puerto Vallarta, Mx. it’s easy to feel right at home in cabaret land with so many of the usual suspects who I know from the New York City scene . . . the myriad of drag queens and female impersonators abound at The Palm Cabaret on Las Oltas in Zona Romantica.

Varla Jean Merman a/k/a Jeffrey Roberson is one of the long time great drag artists who has created so many shows, it only seemed appropriate to toss them into a big pot and come up with a little bit of this, a little bit of that. With her long red tresses and myriad of costume changes, Varla Jean keeps the activity and laugh levels on the ascent with rowdy, raunchy non-stop humor accessorized by video clips that are often-time hilarious.

She takes you from politics (big time – such an appropriate time) to Doris Day and Liza, to her “Big Black Hole,” where Princess Leia would be proud, and where Siri needs to learn the new language of Varla Jean to be more responsive! Yes, Varla Jean is another kind of force – a force of nature that is non-stop, over the top and keeps the audience in the palm of her hand.

And, I would be remiss not to mention her strong singing chops that just adds to the total package. This is one heck of a singer!

Ms. Merman is at the top of her craft both in “a basement in Mexico” (says she) and in cabarets around the country and especially NYC where she has been frequently seen at the Laurie Beechman Theatre.

If you happen to be in PV January 20, 21, 22, 24 – don’t miss Varla Jean Merman celebrating the Palm’s 17th Anniversary Season. Other familiars due at The Palm Cabaret include Well Strung and Steven Brinberg as Barbra.