Gold Dust Orphans Amp Up Season's Spirits with Hilarious Holiday Mashup

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday December 7, 2021

'A Grinchley Christmas Carol'
'A Grinchley Christmas Carol'  (Source:Michael von Redlich)

Ryan Landry and his Gold Dust Orphans grace the stage once again at Iron Wolf Theater in South Boston with a new holiday extravaganza titled "A Grinchley Christmas Carol." As the title suggests, Landry is mashing up Dickens and Dr. Seuss; he's also bringing his trademark blend of puppetry, bawdy humor, garish camp, and parody songs to pandemic-weary audiences in sore need of a little Xmas spirit.

Mrs. Grinchley (Landry), now the widow of The Grinch, after having married and then offed the hapless B-list villain, is a busy department store mogul, raking in money and tormenting her accountant, Max Cratchit (Mark Leahy). Once a year, on Christmas Day, she's compelled to give her overworked, and frequently brutalized, minion the day off. But this year Mrs. Grinchley's dissatisfaction with this outrage from the liberal socialist agenda is compounded with a Christmas Eve visit from the ghost (or, in any case, the oversized puppet likeness) of her murdered spouse, who warns her to be prepared for visits from three specters: The ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future.

You know the drill, of course, but you're probably not expecting the shade of Marilyn Monroe to fetch up in the first role (and deliver a solo). You also might not be prepared for a glimpse into the high school traumas of Mrs. Grinchley, whose kilt-wearing (and exceptionally well-endowed) boyfriend from those teen years was destined for fryolator tragedy.

The hot Ghost of Christmas Present (Nathaniel Hamilton) whisks back the veil from an unfolding tragedy of another kind: Max Cratchit's family life, which consists of a drunken wife (Scott Martino), crushing poverty, and a dog with a broken leg (this pooch's name? Teeny Tiny Tim!). At least Max has a brood of mostly LGBTQ+ kids (Corey Desjardins, Taryn Lane, Gina Trott, and ... maybe ... Gary Croteau) to bring some fabulosity into his life, and the warm glow of family fills him home — though the shadow of impending death falls over the household.

So too for Mrs. Grinchley, who recoils to witness the tidings of a future Yuletide season in which the townspeople celebrate the demise of "vinegar tits"... a fond sobriquet for Mrs. Grinchley herself!

How can a happy ending be coaxed from such dire circumstances?

The Gold Dust Orphans show us how: With appearances from Liza Minnelli (or a drag approximation of her by Delta Miles), backup dancers in burlesque holiday garb, a hunky (and practically naked) Jesus (Rowan Curran), a passel of traditional Christmas music and a scattering of pop gems with hilariously rewritten lyrics, a blizzard of (often rude) one-liners, and one epic set piece after the next. You'll leave the show with your stockings well stuffed.

"A Grinchley Christmas Carol" continues at Iron Wolf Theatre at the South Boston Lithuanian Hall, 368 W Broadway, 3rd Floor, in South Boston, through Dec. 19. For tickets and more information, follow this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.