If there was ever a natural heir to King Graham Kennedy’s throne, it must surely be the glamorous Queen of camp cabaret, Dolly Diamond.
For the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Dolly has revived Kennedy’s 1970s TV game show, Blankety Blanks, and made it her own. This should have happened years ago and if the programmers at Network 10 have any foresight, they’ll be on the phone to her any day now.
Famed for her love of leopard print, big hair and platform shoes (though she must stand 6-foot tall without them) the larger-than-life Dolly has the perfect hostessing skills: a hat-pin-sharp wit, sardonic sense of humour, natural comic timing and a way of working the audience that would have Madame Lash quaking in her thigh-high boots.
With two teams of celebrities and a couple of wary victims hauled from the crowd, Dolly reads a sentence that has a key word missing. The victim silently picks a noun to fill the blank and the panels have to guess what they’ve chosen.
In fine Kennedy form – and to the delight of the adoring audience – the sentences are naughtily suggestive and provide perfect fodder for layer upon layer of ridicule and hilarity. By the last round, everyone has embraced the inevitable but somehow this adds more fuel to the shenanigans and Dolly is on fire.
For opening night, Dolly wooed a top shelf line-up of guests that set high standards: politicians Tanya Plibersek, Janet Rice and Fiona Patten are so diverse yet each an excellent choice, with Plibersek revealing a fun side not normally seen. Also on board was Stonnington Mayor Steve Stefanopoulos, kilt-wearing comedian Craig Hill and former reality TV stars Wayne and Tom from Gogglebox.
Dear Dolly also has a fine singing voice and repertoire of 1950s songs that she has spiced up in her own risqué way, but on opening night she seemed to be truly struggling to catch her breath for the opening and closing numbers; she joked about going on with the show despite not being well, so lets hope her she’s back on form soon.
Much-loved for good reason, Dolly is a fine hostess.
NCM & Dolly Diamond present
Dolly Di*mond's Bl*nkety Bl*nks
Venue: Chapel Off Chapel | 12 Lt Chapel St Prahran VIC
Dates: 11 – 12 April 2019
Tickets: $25 – $29