Review | BarbieQ shines in ‘Dolly Parton: Backwoods Barbie’

BarbieQ

Dolly Parton: Backwoods Barbie | Connections Nightclub | 11 Feb | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

BarbieQ, who is potentially the world’s biggest Dolly Parton fan, is back with a new Fringe World show that pays homage to her hero. It is just sensational.

Having garnered acclaim for 2021’s A Dolly Parton Spectacular and 2022’s Here I Come Again, Perth’s leading drag performer returns with a whole new Dolly Parton themed show that raises the bar and then leaps right over it.

BarbieQ IS Dolly Parton. She’s so good at inhabiting the persona of the country icon, Parton herself might have been feeling light-headed on Monday night as BarbieQ pulled in her very soul. She’s not just wearing a big blond wig and lip-syncing the tunes, she moves like Parton, she smiles like Parton, she nails the embodiment down to the very look in her eye.

The selection of music was impressive. Avoiding the temptation of filling a show wall to wall with an icon’s greatest hits, BarbieQ has cleverly selected a range of music from across the singer’s long career, some hits, some rarer tunes, and many pleasant surprises.

There were great moments with the hits like I Will Always Love You, 9 to 5, Jolene and Here You Come Again, but just as engaging were lesser-known songs like Blue Smoke and a cover of a Bon Jovi tune.

Along for the hour-long party were six easy-on-the-eye backing dancers, who really had the moves down to perfection. The choreography was sublime, the cast were tight, and all their individual personalities shone through. They side stepped, boot scooted and tap danced up a storm.

Alexas Armstrong joined in the fun as Miley Cyrus, her delivery of Hannah Montana era hit Hoedown Throwdown was an invitation to just have a damn good time. In previous outings Delvira Midnight has morphed into Linda Rondstandt, this time she brilliantly transformed into Tammy Wynette to spell out D.I.V.O.R.C.E.

Flawless, fabulous, and fringe at its very best. BarbieQ and her energetic crew looked like they were having the time of their lives and all the audience were invited to the action.      

See Dolly Parton: Backwoods Barbie until 11th of February. For tickets and more information, head to fringeworld.com.au

Graeme Watson is an editor at OUTinPerth. He has a background in journalism, creative writing, dance, theatre, radio and film working as a performer, producer and writer. Graeme writes for a variety of publications and has been working as a reviewer since 1997.

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