Creators: Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit
Reviewer: Sam Lowe
Sh!t Theatre is an intriguing name for a company, considering Mothersole and Biscuit have devised a baaarilliant performance. Yes, this is a contemporary performance where Dolly Parton and Dolly the Sheep share the same stage. It unpacks what cloning is in a literal and metaphorical sense, and utilises it to reflect upon various issues within society. Typical of this company, DollyWould is a crazy theatrical ride for the audience.
While on board this ride, we are subjected to a plethora of themes and ideas. The parallels between the stories of Dolly and Dolly are drawn, examining the notion of preservation and immortality. Sometimes, it is difficult to tell which Dolly they are talking about, to great effect. There is a comment on the regurgitating nature of the pop industry, and how fame and stardom seems to be a common, aspiring life goal. One of the lines is, “Guess all people dream of that.” Elsewhere, there is reference to our image-conscious culture as it mentions about botox and plastic surgery. The show is structured through a series of annecdotes, one of which is about the company’s visit to DollyWood Theme Park as part of their research, this gives the contemporary performance a documentary feel to it. Although, the marking of some sections with, “Let’s talk about…”, is slightly awkward.
Mothersole and Biscuit have a quirky and exuberant relationship onstage. They appear to be clones of each other, when they speak, sing, and move in unison. They often perform bizzare actions with flair and energy, but there is a meaning embedded in it. One moment sees them walking around the stage like sheep, but blindfolded. This concept is symbolic of consumerism and blindly spending money on singer’s merchandise; all part of a moneymaking industry. It’s as if we follow each other, like sheep. So, it’s clever and witty of Sh!t Theatre to have intentionally over-priced substandard merchandise in the foyer. The meaning behind some moments are difficult to read though, for example when they swing on a swing and end up doing pull ups on the bar.
There is madness all the way through this show, but there is method in it. You leave the theatre deep in thought, as you discern how this world is trying to make you like everybody else, instead of embracing individuality. What Sh!t Theatre do really well is they deliver the information to the audience in a matter of fact way. It doesn’t tell us how to feel, it lets us decide that.
Runs until 5th May 2018 | Image: Contributed