‘This is our mainstream crossover hit,’ Sh!t Theatre solemnly inform us on several occasions during their deliriously daft Dolly Parton odyssey ‘DollyWould’.
That’s not strictly speaking true: last year’s scabrously funny London housing crisis show ‘Letters to Windsor House’ was surely the one that put facepaint-loving performance duo Louise Mothersole and Rebecca Biscuit on the map. But you can see their – admittedly tongue-in-cheek – point. After years of making endearingly shambolic performances about social issues, this really genuinely is a show about the Queen of Country, made because the duo are fans and wanted to do a show about something nice for a change. It’s a pop single of a show, mostly content to bask in its own sunny silliness.
This is not to say that Sh!t Theatre have sold out. If anything ‘DollyWould’ is at least as eccentric as its predecessors, perhaps more so, inasmuch as there isn’t really anything they particularly have to tell us beyond the fact that they really, really like Dolly Parton, meaning much of the show is given over to exhilaratingly daft riffing. So they wear wigs, play songs, sing along to old Dolly Parton interviews. They talk a lot about Dolly (the singer). They also talk a lot about Dolly (the sheep). They talk about clones of Dolly Parton. They talk about corpses. They talk about legacy. They don’t actually talk about boobs that much. But they do have theirs out for much of the show, and at one point dress up as a giant pair of breasts.
A wry account of a pilgrimage they made to Parton’s Dollywood theme-park in Tennessee last year gives the show some structure. And they do spend a fair amount of time gleefully speculating about Parton’s sexuality. And there are definitely hints at deeper themes throughout – its recurrant speculation on mortality puts a chill amidst the giggles. But it mostly comes across as two talented, funny performers taking great delight in amusing themselves and us: literally titting about, and all the better for it.