Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Philadelphia

Mabeline's You Really Are a Heel
Ruba Club
Review by Rebecca Rendell

Cookie Diorio
Photo by Christopher Ash
Glittering green and more fun than opening presents on Christmas morning, Mabeline's You Really Are a Heel, a recent offering at the Ruba Club, is the perfect show for this strange and precious holiday season. Part musical theater, part cabaret performance, and all drag show, Mabeline's (aka Cookie Diorio) fantastically cathartic celebration of empowerment and authenticity could make even the grumpiest Grinch feel the spirit.

Mabeline is the ex-wife of the infamous Grinch who stole Christmas. Cruelly kicked to the curb by that green meanie and erased from her own story by Dr. Seuss, Mabeline has come to Philadelphia's Ruba club to see the world and pursue what makes her happy. What starts out as a Christmas concert quickly turns into a beat-infused, tell-all gossip session. Mabeline is ready set the record straight about what really happened in Whoville, and we're just lucky enough to be there for it.

Featuring original music by Mabeline and directed by award-winning theater artist Brett Ashley Robinson, Mabeline's You Really are a Heel was a delight to experience. Mabeline threw out some hard bars and got the whole room revved up with "Christmas Tree," a fist-pumping revenge track about the time Mabeline discovered the Dr. Seuss book and then set the Whoville Christmas tree ablaze. She brought as much raw emotion and considerable vocal chops to an impossibly captivating cabaret ballad arrangement of "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." Jess Conda performed alongside Mabeline as an unexpectedly compelling and undeniably adorable DJ Cindy Lou.

Mabeline's You Really are a Heel was such a good time I am already hoping she comes back to Philadelphia next Christmas.

Produced by The Bearded Ladies and The House of Diorio, Mabeline's You Really Are a Heel ran December 9-18, 2021, at The Ruba Club, 416 Green St, Philadelphia PA. For more information about the venue, visit

Mabeline, AKA Cookie Diorio
CJ Cindy Lou, AKA Jess

Directed by Brett Ashley Robinson
Written by Cookie Diorio
Music and lyrics by Cookie Diorio
Dramaturg/Outside Eye: John Jarboe
Writer's Assistant: Jaedto Israel
Production Manager: Tait Adams
Stage Manager: Noelle Diane Johnson
Assistant Stage Manager: Elliot Foster
Scenic Designer: Sara Outing
Costume Designer: Cookie Diorio
Associate Costume Designer: Rebecca Kanach
Lighting Designer: Harbour Edney
Sound Designer: Lucas Campbell