Remember that famous number from GYPSY where three strippers advise a novice on how to take it all off, “You Gotta Get a Gimmick”? Well imagine now that it’s three men (?) in burqas peeking through veiled flaps over heavily mascara-ed eyes singing “You Gotta Get a Burqa”! This is the kind of irreverence Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans are famous for, and for which we adore them. THOROUGHLY MUSLIM MILLIE is their latest zany offering, another bewitchingly bawdy bastard child of Broadway musicals parodying the aforementioned “Millie”and “Gypsy,” as well as “The sound of Music,” “The King and I,” “My Fair lady,” “Evita,” and so much more!
THOROUGHLY MUSLIM MILLIE finds the innocent Millie (the achingly exuberant Jessica Barstis) as a Canadian nun caught in the crossfire of an evil plot engineered by reverend mother Dick Cheney in a wimple (an unfailingly hilarious Larry Coen/director) who tries to hoodwink the Prince of Persia (hunky Nash Hightower), steal his oil supply, and achieve world domination. The plot boiler trips through the musical and narrative tropes of sex, love, religion, political intrigue and comes to a head (!) in a bloody Hamlet-like climax in a mosque, but not before we’ve seen nuns on camels, tap dancing chorines, the teasing torturer Natasha (a very naughty Penny Champayne), Cheney’s lesbian daughter Mary (golden-voiced Tim Lawton) crushing on the Persian prince’s sister Diesel (the passionate Liza Lott), and Cheney’s wife Lynne (queen of the zingers Olive Another) singing “Hello, Abu Dhabi”– Evita-style. Oh–and Bette Davis shows up briefly. Set somewhere in the middle of “ShaLala Lalalah,” the show hails more specifically from the twists and twerks of writer Landry’s terrifically diverting twain of thought. Landry physically hovers over the proceedings as Bruta the Persian prince’s mysterious first wife.
The voices are strong and clear, the sets, sound, lighting, choreography, staging– all seriously screwball, the jokes obscene, their punchlines timed to explode on contact. Performer/writer/artistic director Ryan Landry– this year’s Elliot Norton Prize Winner for Sustained Excellence–and The Orphans have once again blown our minds, and provoked us into laughing through the chaos of the even wackier world in which we live. SEE THOROUGHLY MUSLIM MILLIE at the Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts at MACHINE through May 20th!
DO NOT BRING THE KIDS.