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DollyWould review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘gleefully scrappy and frequently silly’

Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit  Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit 

Following on from Letters to Windsor House, their glorious show about London rental hell, this is Sh!t Theatre’s “mainstream crossover hit”. It’s about Dolly Parton – because everyone loves Dolly Parton. Except, as with so much of the company’s work, it’s about so many other things as well: ambition and art and authenticity – and it does all of this while being gleefully scrappy and frequently silly.

DollyWould is both cynical about Dolly-the-brand but also a bit in love with her too.  Performers Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit take a trip to Dollywood, Parton’s themepark-come-shrine to herself and marvel at the mountains of Dolly merchandise. They highlight the dismaying levels of sexism she’s had to face over the years –question after question about her appearance – and throw thoughts about Dolly the sheep into the mix too, donning lamb’s wool wigs and hot pants with little tufty tails.

They also visit the Tennessee Body Farm, not far from Dollywood, a place where scientists study human decay. One of the many joys of a Sh!t Theatre show is the way their work can raise questions about cultural permanence and the way the entertainment industry treats women, while also featuring a sequence in which they dress up in massive boob suits and swig from bottles of Mateus Rose.

Image smashes into image. Idea into idea. An icon is unpacked, satirised and worshipped all at once.

Verdict
Idea-stuffed unpacking of a cultural icon performed with energy and verve
^