The impish and mischievous pair of Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit are back at Home Manchester with their new show DollyWould. Playing to packed audiences their relatively short run tribute to all things Dolly is already a sell out.
Louise and Rebecca have continued adding to their burgeoning reputation in theatre land by producing another avant garde, kooky, off the wall hit. After putting the housing crisis to rights in their hit show Letters to Windsor House, DollyWould is a much lighter riposte with a tribute to their mutual love of country and western legend Dolly Parton. In their own words it is their big, mainstream crossover hit.
The subject of Dolly Parton and the eccentricity of her career – as well as her mammaries – seem to be right up Louise and Rebecca’s. In fact given her career it is ripe for this double act’s brand of humour and observational comedy. If you’ve ever been to one of Shit Theatre’s productions you will find many familiar elements on stage here. A myriad of commentary, musical interludes and video segments are all given the Mothersole and Biscuit treatment. They sing songs, use props, indulge in innocent banter with the audience and even dress up as a pair of comedy breasts
It is evident what makes them so appealing. Like most double acts there is a wonderful affinity for each other, so much so that they at times come across seamlessly as one. They’ve built upon on this trait with some wonderful wordsmith moments of synchronicity. These moments in the show demonstrate their talents as writers and understanding the nuances of language. So comfortable are they with each other and on the stage that even when things go awry they are more than comfortable in overcoming it with their unique sense of humour.
DollyWould incorporates their visit to the Dolly Parton theme park, Dollywood in Tennessee, whilst also using the famous Barbara Walters interview with the country superstar as a focal point before she crossed over to the mainstream. Parton’s famous hits are all here too, but used in a innovative way rather than a cliched go-to segment that would have been a crowd pleaser.
Yet, this is not just a tribute act to Dolly. It quickly becomes evident that another Dolly is going to be put under scrutiny. Dolly the sheep that became famous for being the first ever clone. Both Mothersole and Biscuit find the opportunities to showcase the parallels between Dolly the sheep and Dolly the singing superstar, from wooly wigs to the evolution of Parton the singing superstar. There is also their trip to the Body Farm nearby to Dollywood, which they cannot but help draw parallels between the decaying corpses, Parton’s career and Dolly the Sheep.
This is where the show really unravels.Louise and Rebecca are affable, funny and engaging but DollyWould seems to be asking its audience to do all the hard work for them. On the face of it this is a hilarious analysis of Dolly Parton and how funny it is that there is a sheep that is famous for being the first ever clone also being called Dolly. Or are we being asked to comment on the role of body image in the age of celebrity and how it affects how we see people or our perceived image of them, even if it is Dolly with a big pair of tits or a sheep that we cannot distinguish from one or another.
Maybe it is just a show about Dolly, her greatest assets and a sheep. Even if it is, it is still worth watching!
Verdict: Rebecca and Louise are back with a show dedicated to Dolly Parton and Dolly the Sheep. Dolly’s wigs, her breasts, her clones and even Burt Reynolds are given the Sh!t Theatre treatment. Funny and satirical. Just don’t ask us what it all really means!