Devised by: Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit
Reviewer: Kris Hallett
Sh!t Theatre love Dolly. So much so that they are prepared to lie on an Arts Council funding form to make a pilgrimage to Dollywood over in Florida. In Sh!t Theatre style a show comes out of the wandering. Just like a trip, what follows is a rambling, personal and always enjoyable trawl of what makes Dolly Parton the Queen of Country music and trash.
The company’s last work about the housing crisis, Letter From Windsor House, really got the fringe buzzing and if this show doesn’t feel as powerful – albeit still gesticulating away in preview form – its because the subject matter doesn’t feel so urgent or immediately relatable to most of its audience. It’s a whimsy, something to while away the time while unlikely to remain with you much after the final blackout.
It’s clear that Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit worship the ground that Dolly walks on (so much so that they have inked large pictures of her on to their thighs) and there is an interesting exploration of the psyche of a woman who grew up in poverty demanding not just to become a star but a superstar. A key part of the work is a 1977 interview with Barbara Walters where Walters’ questions are audibly projected in and the girls answer in song. Here we meet a woman already well-established but wanting to turn the hundreds of thousands of dollars she has already accrued into millions.
The company always approaches an idea from fascinating angles, prepared to go down into tangents that by and large help further illuminate the subject. Here it’s the story of Dolly entering herself into a Dolly Parton drag lookalike competition…and losing. Being out-Dollied by others with their fake wigs, boobs and nails, Parton has cornered the market in celebrity clones. It’s no wonder that the first sheep genetically cloned was named Dolly. There was no other choice.
Its lo-fi charm and chaotic style takes a while to warm up on a Saturday lunchtime but has heated up long before they produce their show-piece event; listing all the Dolly items you can purchase from the shop from memory. If there are a few stumbles at the moment, expect it to stop the fringe when it’s firmly bedded into the girls’ memory.
Reviewed on 15 July 2017 | Image: Contributed
Latitude Festival runs from 13 – 16 July 2017 at Henham Park, Suffolk