Dollywould (4 stars)

This article is from 2017


Inventive Double D live art cabaret focuses on the sheep and the singer

Sh!t Theatre's anarchic, audacious cabaret framed around their almost stalker-level love of country queen Dolly Parton is a smart meditation on sexuality, capitalism and impermanence. Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole declare this their 'Jolene', their 'mainstream crossover hit'. A fever dream with feminist lesbian undertones, it traces their trip to the ultimate theme park: Dollywood. Clinging to each other, their voices blur, as Dolly – the sheep and the singer – uber clones.

There is much thematic overlapping here: they cut holes out of neon pink T shirts, playing with the sexist critics' reduction of the award-winning songwriter, musician and activist Ms Parton to simply 'a massive pair of boobs'. Snaps of dead bodies punctuate the relentless forced jollity, a memento mori alluding to the forensic Body Farm near the singer's theme park, where the dead are left to scientific research – here, worryingly, as with Dollywood, you can buy souvenirs. Everything is up for commodification.

Gorgeous harmonies, ukulele, loop pedals and DIY logic dizzily collide, as the duo's hall of mirrors distorts Dolly Parton's legacy. They sing her interview responses, and bleat 'Islands in the Stream', wobbling in heels as newborn lambs. Sweet, silly, disturbing and angry, this show gleams like rhinestones. Mammaries are made of this.

Summerhall, until 27 Aug (not 21), 9.15 pm, £8.


Fringe First award-winning tribute to Dolly Parton. Presented by Sh!t Theatre.