Adelaide Cabaret Festival. The Blue Room. 8 Jun 2019
Well, darn it and heavens to Betsy, darlin', here comes Dolly Parton with a baritone voice.
This English-born Aussie Dolly Diamond fits absolutely none of the conventional Dolly Parton bills. So, Parton Me is a good title for the show.
This is one very big Dolly, squeezed absurdly into a tight yellow Dolly jumpsuit. This is a breathless, hoarse Dolly who whispers out Dolly lyrics and occasionally resorts to a beautiful baritone note or two. This also is a very funny Dolly with a good line of satiric patter and audience schtick.
Dolly Diamond is well known around the entertainment traps but this is her Adelaide Parton Me premiere and she attracted a house packed with Red Hat ladies and Dolly fans. Whether they expected what they got is another matter. Some looked a wee bit askance. But there was a lot of love in the air.
For this critic, a long-time Dolly fan who has actually pilgrimaged to Dollywood in Tennessee, it was a totally surreal Dolly experience with a very strong sense that of all people, it would be Dolly Parton herself who most would appreciate this gorgeous, brazen and totally dissimilar mimic.
Dolly Diamond, who has a writer called Michael Dalton, is just a downright feel-good, mischievous, out-there entertainer. Just a bit too generous for her own good. For part of the show, her two lovely backing singers are joined onstage by the huge Adelaide Gospel Chorus and, indeed, they adorn the stage as an upbeat life force. But handing over Dolly’s gospel solos to their leader, Charmaine Jones, for an elongated super-soaring virtuoso soul gospel rendition just takes the cabaret show right out of cabaret and into another zone. Would that Dolly D had kept the spotlight on herself. She’s worth it.
When: 7 to 9 Jun
Where: The Blue Room