Presented by Adelaide Festival Centre
Reviewed 7 June 2019
Dolly Parton fans will find themselves delighted by Dolly Diamond’s unique cabaret interpretation of the country singer’s biggest hits.
Strutting out on stage in her bright yellow jumpsuit which is unsurprisingly covered in shimmering sparkles, Dolly Diamond bats her long lashes and pouts her lips as cheers greet the cabaret sensation of the night. As those in the audience are at first mesmerised by the glittery outfit, glamorous makeup and big, bouncing blonde hair, Ms Diamond begins her first song.
Throughout the night the audience enjoys country tales told through Dolly’s lyrics including My Tennesee Mountain Home, Applejack and Love is Like a Butterfly. It is, though, Dolly Parton’s most famous songs that really get the audience going. With Ms Diamond’s encouragement, the audience eagerly bursts into song as 9 To 5 starts to play (a fitting tune for the end of the working week). It is, though, the 1974 hit song Jolene that really brings the audience to its liveliest. What makes this hit even better is Ms Diamond’s husky voice combined with a choir of high, young voices, complementing each other to create a truly unique rendition of a classic country song.
What’s great about Dolly Diamond is that she doesn’t simply impersonate the country-music sensation, but rather puts her on spin on hits all Dolly fans would well and truly know. Ms Diamond’s deeper, husky voice brings a new edge to the country hits, putting a unique twist on Parton’s cache of songs. She also is more than happy to share the stage with many other talented singers, including the Gospo Collective whose charisma brings a whole new level of energy to the stage. The audience is also treated to a skin-tingling performance of I Will Always Love You (written by Dolly Parton, but most well-known for its rendition by Whitney Houston) by Charmaine Jones, whose powerhouse vocals are almost on par with Houston’s.
Alongside the obvious musical talent that fills the performance is Ms Diamond’s sassy interactions with the audience. She not only likes to shake things up on stage, but also in the audience, leaving her viewers in fits of laughter. From accusing wives of drugging their husbands with Valium in an effort to make them bearable to sculling glasses of wine from audience members’ tables – you won’t know what you’ll get when Ms Diamond steps off stage.
At some points Ms Diamond’s huskiness makes it hard to hear what she is saying in-between songs, but it is only on the rare occasion. Another slight disappointment is the lack of banjo playing, but this is due to a broken arm on our leading lady which obviously couldn’t have been avoided.
Not only will Dolly Parton fans love this quirky take on their country idol, but anyone with a funny-bone and ear for music will enjoy a humorous, unique and ear-pleasing hour with Dolly Diamond at this year’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Rating out of 5: 3.5 Delightfully Dolly
Venue: The Blue
Room, Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide, 5000
Season: 7 – 9 June 2019
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $36.90 – $46.90