Dixie's Tupperware Party - Plastic fantastic
This article is from 2009.
Picture a ruder version of Dame Edna and you have Dixie Longate. Anna Millar chats to the Tupperware queen about her cosy relationship with law enforcement
Dixie Longate is not your average type of gal. She may be a street-smart, fast-talking belle these days, but life hasn’t always been so easy. Having thrown off the shackles of her trailer park existence back in 2001, she was saved by Tupperware. A life of travelling the world to sell food storage solutions became her reason to live. ‘It was the idea of my parole officer,’ she says in her Alabama drawl. ‘I needed a job in order to get my kids back.’
Eight years on, with the odd felony along the way, and she’s bringing the party, Dixie’s Tupperware Party to be exact, to this year’s Fringe.
The inspiration to serve her loyal following of plastic lovers was, she concedes, there all along. ‘I had a great momma who taught me to know the difference between right and wrong and taught me how to make sure that I didn’t get caught when I was having so much fun doing the wrong stuff. I got three kids and I try to give them the same sort of upbringing. Look, I have had some run-ins with the law. Hell, who hasn’t? But the important thing is I’ve always made friends with the police officers that put me away. To serve and protect, as we say in America. And let me assure you, I do plenty of “serving”, so that they “protect” me.’
With a set harking back to the golden days of the 50s and a stack of double entendres primed and ready, audiences should expect more of a party than a play. Dixie merrily admits that from night to night it’s a moveable feast, with her acerbic wit and fast-talking sales pitch changing depending on her mood. One thing that remains the same is her fashion, which was lovingly described by one critic as how ‘Little Bo Beep might look if she fell down Alice’s rabbit hole’. Dixie’s not so sure about the comparison. ‘Lord, what sort of pill were they smoking when they came up with that? I’m just your regular Tupperware. I mean I make my own clothes and I have that strong Southern sensibility, so maybe that is what they meant. I tease my hair up a spell every now and then, but other than that, I am just your regular butt-kicking, bar-hopping, gingham-wearing Tupperware lady.’
Never one to hide her light under a bushel, Dixie boasts of her rave reviews stateside in 2007 with a critically acclaimed run in New York and has enjoyed similar praise around the globe, but she admits it’s a collective effort. Indeed, ask which is her favourite part of the show and the answer is easy. Audiences take note: you will be named and shamed and made to wear a name tags: ‘I love being able to talk to the people in the audience directly and getting them up to play games with me and win raffles and ask questions. That is what makes the party different for me every night. There is always a new crop of people sitting there annoying the crap out of me every night, and I have to somehow make sure they have a good time.’
Those expecting a sedate night of retail should leave such naive expectations at the door. One fan of the show suggested if you imagined Dame Edna as a raunchy Tupperware hostess who calls her audience hookers instead of possums you would get a better idea of what to expect. And Dixie is the first to agree she’s a force to be reckoned with, like the gift that doesn’t stop giving. ‘I can’t wait to find out what Scotlandy people will need from me. I feel like I am an ambassador bringing nations together through unique and durable air-tight kitchen products. And I hear that people over in Scotland drink more beer than an average lesbian, so I am practically pooping my pants to see that.’
You have been duly warned.
Dixie’s Tupperware Party, Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, 12–31 Aug (not 24), 7.35pm, £11.50–£12.50 (£10.50–£11.50). Preview 11 Aug, £6.