Review By Tatum Stafford
Tonight’s theatrical love letter to Dolly Parton was 22 years in the making – and boy, was it worth it.
The show seems an easy sell as Dolly is such a household name amongst lovers or passive admirers of country music. But it takes real gusto, star quality and commitment to pay accurate and loving tribute to the blonde bombshell; and award-winning Perth drag queen BarbieQ more than succeeds.
A fan of Dolly since childhood, BarbieQ is effervescent and effortless as she glides across the stage and seamlessly transitions from hit to hit. From her signature big blonde wig to her sparkly footwear, BarbieQ nails the aesthetics as well as the little quirks that make Dolly Dolly – and that make us fall more and more in love with her as a performer.
Though Dolly’s greatest hits graced the setlist (with “I Will Always Love You”, “Two Doors Down” and “Baby I’m Burning” particular highlights), some of the more subdued moments within the show were the most powerful. BarbieQ welcomed fellow local queens Alexas Armstrong and Delvira Midnight to join her for a touching performance evoking Dolly’s ‘Trio’ stint.
Though Dolly was the clear star of the night, there were a few other standout performers that gave BarbieQ the chance for a break and a few glittery costume changes. Alexas shone as Shania Twain in her rousing performance of “Man, I Feel Like a Woman”, and Delvira was a joy to watch in her routine to Linda Ronstadt’s “It’s So Easy”.
BarbieQ’s four fantastic back-up dancers should also be commended for their infectious energy, dazzling smiles and impressive ability.
The finale was a positively joyous hoe-down of “Applejack”, BarbieQ’s favourite Dolly Parton song. It was the perfect closer, as this captivating queen was clearly enjoying herself; grinning ear to ear. The show has already sold out its run – but with any luck, this isn’t the last we’ll see of BarbieQ’s fantastic Dolly Parton Spectacular.