Melbourne’s queen of cabaret has done it again! Lending her husky voice to her favourite Dolly Parton songs, she’s created another fabulous show. It covered a good balance Parton’s extensive song repertoire from toe-tapping country romps like Mule Skinner Blues, the slightly ridiculous Me and little Andy, to crowd-pleasing favourites like 9 to 5.
Ms Diamond always knows how to make an entrance, starting this show in a fully-sequined gold dress and, of course, equally dazzling blonde hair. A suitable nod to her name sake’s style which, she explains, was inspired by the local lady of the night. Her costumes continued to impress throughout the show with a sequined rainbow number then a rhinestone-encrusted yellow jumpsuit.
The Kew Courthouse was a fantastic venue with a bar (we could take our drinks in to the performance!) and just enough seating room to allow Ms Diamond to pick on most of the crowd. Her audience interactions, with her improvisation sharper than Dolly Parton’s fingernails, is a highlight of all her performances.
Diamond is in good company on stage too with Darren Steel on Double Bass, Erin Heycox on violin, Caleb Garfinkel on guitar and mandolin, Conrad Tracey on drums and, all the way from Brisbane, acclaimed vocalist Daryl Murphy. Diamond’s long-time collaborator Luke Gallagher joined her onstage for a delightful rendition of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers’ duet, You can’t make old friends.
This show was for two (sold out!) performances only, as part of the 2019 Midsumma Festival. It is a fitting contribution to Victoria’s premier LGBTQIA+ festival, as Dolly Parton is an ally adored by people of all ages, genders and sexualities. While the show was filled with Diamond’s usual sass, there might have been a hint of sentimentality and certainly a lot of love in the room, which is true to the spirit of the Midsumma Festival.
Dolly Diamond in Parton Me
Kew Court House, 188 High Street, Kew
Performance: Friday 1 February 2019 – 8.00pm
Image: Dolly Diamond in Parton Me – photo by Jeevs
Review: Sophia Dickinson