Varla Jean Is Back In London!

Keith McDonnell
Authored by
Keith McDonnell

September 19, 2013
8:33 a.m.

I was aghast when it dawned on me that ten years have passed since American drag sensation (I think it’s more than fair to call her that) Varla Jean Merman last appeared in London. I was there.

I remember her being very funny, I laughed a lot and am sure she did a routine with a can of squirty cheese. Was that her? If anyone could help me out on this, I’d be eternally grateful – ten years was a long time ago and the only thing I can be totally sure about the night is was that I’d had a few sherries, but that was par for the course back then – but I digress, this isn’t a therapy session, I’m not supposed to be ‘sharing’ and you probably want me to shut the fuck up and talk about Varla Jean. Fair enough.

Well, Varla Jean’s probably best known for appearing in the cult film ‘Girls Will Be Girls,’ but she also appeared in ‘Chicago’ on Broadway as Mary Sunshine. She’s also been on TV’s Project Runway – all in addition to her numerous cabaret appearances.

The creation of Jeffrey Roberson, she returns to the Leicester Square Theatre for only three performances of her new show entitled The Book of Merman.


Don’t expect songs about AIDS or diarrhoea – do expect a series of off-the-wall, hilarious new songs, videos and monologues. As his alter ego, Varla Jean, Jeffrey has filled cabaret and concert halls across the globe, having stopped off at the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall (NYC), the New York Public Theater and London’s Soho Theatre (see – that’s probably where I saw her ten years’ ago!)

The New York Times recently had this to say about her following her performances in the off-Broadway musical ‘Lucky Guy’ with Leslie Jordan (Will and Grace): “If Carol Burnett and Harvey Korman had stood right in front of the right pair of funhouse mirrors, they might have resembled Ms Merman and Mr Jordan in stature as well as comedic talent.”


The first half of her London show is devoted to newcomers ‘Well-Strung,’ The Singing String Quartet. They’re a devilishly handsome foursome who sing as well as they play, putting their own spin on the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Rihanna, Adele and Lady Gaga.

It sounds like an unmissable double-bill!

Click here for more information and to book tickets.

19th, 20th, 21st September


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