Review | Dolly Diamond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks is pure camp joy

Dolly Diamond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks | Connections | Until 15 Feb | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Whether you’re familiar with the original US series Match Game from the 1970s, Graham Kennedy’s Australian spinoff or RuPaul’s dragged up Snatch Game; everyone knows how to play Blankety Blanks.

UK expatriate and Melbourne superstar Dolly Diamond returns to Fringe World with her glittering ode to one of the most iconic television game shows in history.

The formula remains the same as its on-screen counterparts. Dolly is joined by a panel of celebrity guests, to see whose answers will match with the contestants as they try to fill in the missing words of sentences offered up by Dolly. Though points are scored by contestants having the same answers as the celebrity panelists – the true aim of the game here, as it was on TV, is innuendo.

Dolly takes this tried-and-true formula and amps up the camp to 100. When you add a quick-witted, sparkling, old-school queen to the already flashy back drop of a 70s game show, that’s where the true magic happens.

There’s no subtlety here, as Dolly swans onto the stage of the Southern Hemisphere’s oldest gay bar in a bedazzled rainbow dress. This show is all about big drag, big hair and big laughs – launching into a bawdy cabaret sing-a-long of Love Is In The Air to get the ball rolling.

Ms Diamond doesn’t take any prisoners when she’s on the mic, expertly teasing the audience with the perfect amount of cheek. Dolly is here to poke a little… well, a lot of fun, but she knows exactly where to draw the line.

Dolly’s expertise was tested when the remarkably heterosexual Hilux-driving man she had chosen as one of her audience contestants gave her an unsolicited spank… the tension in the room was palpable. Here, Diamond showed what a true professional she was, reprimanding him for touching her without consent with a patient charm that dispelled the awkwardness and brought the attention back to the show.

Joined on opening night by a panel of Perthonalities including Donna Kebab, Ginava, and the stars of Mis-Cast, along with Pieta of Perth Happenings and the only and only Elton John(?) – the game serves as the framework to the real show; Dolly Diamond on a microphone.

No matter what the panelists or the contestants were serving to Dolly, she aced every comment with a wicked retort that kept the audience giggling for the entire hour. Dolly is the embodiment of classic drag, always ready with quick-fire response for any situation, and that’s exactly what makes this show brilliant.

Dolly Diamond’s Blankety Blanks will return for two more shows, with panelists including Feminem, BarbieQ, Nova’s Nathan & Nat, and OUTinPerth’s own Graeme Watson. If you’re a fan of big drag, wicked comedy and all things camp, you’d be ______ to miss this show.

See Dolly Diamond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks until Saturday 15th February at Connections Nightclub.

Leigh Andrew Hill is an editor at OUTinPerth, with a BA from the University of Western Australia in Media Studies & Art History. Since 2005, Leigh has studied and practiced journalism, film-making, script-writing, language, contemporary performance and visual arts. Leigh is also a freelancer writer, and producer and presenter on RTRFM 92.1.

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