San Francisco Theater Review: THE GOLDEN GIRLS: THE CHRISTMAS EPISODES (Trannyshack at the Victoria Theater)

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by Chuck Louden on December 7, 2013

in Theater-San Francisco / Bay Area


Now at the Victoria Theatre, Trannyshack’s drag version of classic holiday-themed The Golden Girls episodes seems to grow in popularity every year. Since its inception in 2005 when it was performed for a select crowd of friends, it has outgrown the Pollo Del Mar (Rose), Matthew Martin (Blanche), Heklina (Dorothy) and Cookie Dough (Sophia) in THE GOLDEN GIRLS--THE CHRISTMAS EPISODESliving room and two subsequent South of Market venues.

Why all the fuss over drag queens reenacting episodes of an old sitcom? As many aging baby boomers, gay men and anyone nostalgic for things from the 80s can tell you, The Golden Girls had it all: We had older friends living together with distinct personalities, and their schemes to find a man constantly caused misunderstandings, but everything was tied together with love. As with I Love Lucy and other vintage sitcoms, it had great writing and the themes and humor from the episodes are timeless. During its seven year run (1985-1992) this sitcom was also ahead of its time: Relevant issues such HIV, abortion and homosexuality were presented and dealt with frankly, matter-of-factly and with truly funny writing. Ultimately, what made it all work was the fact that the leads–Bea Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty–were all seasoned sitcom pros.

A well-written sitcom filled with double entendres, sexual innuendos, sarcasm and campiness is a natural fit for drag queens, which takes the humor to new levels. As with the sitcom, casting is the key to its success. The cast at hand are local San Heklina (Dorothy), Matthew Martin (Blanche), Cookie Dough (Sophia) and Pollo Del Mar (Rose) in THE GOLDEN GIRLS--THE CHRISTMAS EPISODESFrancisco Drag luminaries: Trannyshack founder “Heklina” as Dorothy, “Cookie Dough” as Sophia, “Pollo Del Mar” as Rose and Matthew Martin as Blanche.

Featured yuletide episodes are “Rose the Prude/Blanche and the Younger Man” and “Ladies of the Evening.” As someone who has seen the show year after year, it is amazing how consistently entertaining it is to watch these perfect performers milk their lines, exchange wry  glances, and react with razor-sharp comic timing. This is more than a drag show. It’s veteran comedic performers at their very best. Bring your friends, bring your grandmother—heck, bring your poodle. They will love it and “thank you for being a friend!”

photos courtesy of Trannyshack

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes
Trannyshack at Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th Street
scheduled to end on December 22, 2013
for tickets, visit

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