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Review: The Dolly Parton Story at Lotterywest De Parel Spiegeltent at The Woodside Pleasure Garden

Review by Sophia Gilet

The Dolly Parton Story is a celebration and honouring of Dolly Parton told with tenderness pride and total love.

Performed by Hannah Richards and Alex Beharrell, this duo are a delight to watch - their easy connection and joy in working together is evident on stage and their magic sparks throughout each song. Both of them are magnificent singers and Alex plays the guitar exceptionally well.

When you walk into the De Parel Spiegeltent it is set up with chairs and also features some cosy booths. There is bar that is open the entire time (if the man walking back from it carrying two bottles of wine was any indication) and the Spiegeltent is made of wood and decorated elegantly with glass and mirrors is very old worldly and timeless. You leave behind 2020 Perth and travel all the way to Dolly Parton's Birth place then Nashville and beyond. It's a perfect setting to get you in the mood for a country affair! The night we went was a packed performance - Dolly sure has a lot of fans!

This show progresses though her life and we are treated to her songs from each era, with classics such as “Jolene” which had everyone singing along and up and dancing.

The two performers were dressed very simply and authentically- there was no flashy costumes- or costumes changes and instead allowed Dolly's life and character to really take centre stage on this performance, The stage was bare except for two microphone stands and there was a screen projected behind the performers. The screen would sometimes emphasise part of Dolly Parton's songs and sometimes would come up with facts about her life.

The audience were encouraged to join in and dance especially with “9 to 5” and and a few others, Although I would have been more surprised if they could have gotten the crowd to stop. The moment the first song was sung there were people already mouthing the words and clapping to the rhythm. Again, Dolly has a lot of fans!! Both performers talked directly to the audience members and had a great dialogue on stage with each other and, importantly, with the audience.

The story of Dolly Parton is told with heart and spunk, Hannah's rendition of “I will always love you” blew us all away and her storytelling in the song “Joshua” has made these new favourites for me.

As someone who has seen and heard about Dolly Parton I was excited for the show but not a huge fan, I left with so much respect and new found love for her and her music. Needless to say, job well done 'Dolly Parton Story.'

Dolly Parton is an Icon. She has achieved so much and still is achieving so much with the Musical “9 to 5” which she has worked on being brought over to Australia this year.. She has fought her way to the top first through the Country music industry and then the pop industry, she has done so with remarkable grace and enthusiasm and above all she is an incredible musician, singer and songwriter. Each and every song played in the show only reinforces the genius of Dolly Parton.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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