Performance Date: Thursday January 20
A popular performer on the local and international entertainment circuits, Michael Dalton has a fabulous female alter ego named Dolly Diamond. A rare combination of quick wit and high glamour, Dalton and his creative team must be congratulated for inventing and nurturing a comic confection for the ages.
Recently, Diamond helmed such memorable events as Dolly Diamond Under A Big Top (at the Melba Spiegeltent), Dolly Diamond – The Real Queen of Moomba (for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival), and Dolly Diamond’s Christmas In July (at Chapel off Chapel).
In 2014, Diamond was made a lifetime member of the Midsummer Festival because of her long – running involvement with the prestigious organisation.
Midsumma is Melbourne’s largest annual pride festival celebrating queer, intersex, transsexual, transgender, bisexual, lesbian and gay culture.
Currently celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, this year’s jam – packed alternative visual and performing arts program features more than 120 different acts and events. Various entertainment options include musicals, comedy, drama, cabaret, film screenings, readings, art exhibitions, bands, forums, rallies, carnivals and raves.
Diamond is fronting two very different productions for 2017.
“Dolly Diamond’s Piano Barre” is a group sing-along, showcasing a different VIP guest every week for the duration of the festival. Hosted at the Arts Centre in Southbank, musical choices are expected to cover entertainment legends from Judy Garland to Kylie Minogue.
Her other show is a spectacular tribute to television variety and game shows of a bygone era.
Created by Frank Wayne, The Match Game first premiered on American television in 1962. The show featured pairs of duelling contestants, trying to think of clever answers to saucy fill – in – the – blank questions. The winning aim being, for each of them to best match their responses against a panel of celebrity guests.
The Match Game proved to be such a ratings bonanza, that the template was eventually purchased (and renamed) for Australia’s Ten Network. Fronted by Graham Kennedy in 1977, Blankety Blanks was an immediate hit with local audiences. A perfect fit for Kennedy’s outrageous strain of humour, the cheeky formula dripped with double meanings.
High profile identities of the day that appeared on Blankety Blanks included Abigail, Noeline Brown, Barry Creyton, Jon English, ’Ugly’ Dave Gray, Dawn Lake, Carol Raye, Stuart Wagstaff, John Paul Young, and many, many more.
Later, the show was revived in 1986 with Daryl Somers hosting, and a decade after that, as a vehicle for Shane Bourne.
Supported by a pair of eager co-hosts, Trevor ‘The Public Tugger’ and Glo Mesh, Dolly Di*mond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks is playing at Chapel off Chapel for a strictly–limited, five performance run. FOXTEL executives take note, Diamond and her crew have refreshed and renewed the format, celebrating her singing prowess, stunning range of frocks, lightning-fast banter, brilliant audience interaction, and continuing growth as a family – friendly brand.
• Rowena Allen (Victoria’s Gender & Sexuality Commissioner)
• Dean Arcuri (Entertainer / Radio & TV Host)
• Jason Ball (Speaker / Writer / Educator)
• Gamble Breaux (The Real Housewives of Melbourne)
• Rhonda Burchmore (Entertainer & Author)
• Anthony Callea (Singer / Songwriter)
• Tim Campbell (Singer / Actor)
• Joel Creasey (Comedian)
• Polly Filla (Drag Artiste)
• Ash Flanders (Actor)
• Ally Fowler & Tottie Goldsmith (The Chantoozies)
• Callum Francis & Toby Francis (Stars of Kinky Boots the Musical)
• Luke Gallagher (Cabaret Artist)
• Hans (Cabaret Artist)
• Sam Hibbins (Political Member For Prahran)
• Merman Dan (Cabaret Artist)
• Fiona Patten (Australian Sex Party)
• Fiona Scott – Norman (Cabaret Artist / Writer)
• The Sparrow Men (Improv Comedians)
• Supergirly (Cabaret Artist)
• Virginia Trioli & Michael Rowland (ABC TV News Breakfast Hosts)
• Tina Del Twist (Comedian)
• Nath Valvo (Comedian)
• Cal Wilson (Comedian / TV Personality)
• Daniel Witthaus (LGBTI Advocate)
Meaning, the key combination of contestants and special guests, give Diamond and her team mountains of material to weave their magic and keep everyone laughing. This innate ability to spin even the most innocent talk into comic gold, is worth the price of admission alone.
(Selected to participate via a simple survey, players are chosen at random before the show. Be early, if you would like to be in the running to take part and win some great prizes to boot.)
Giving the inclusive atmosphere an extra boost, each member of the opening night cast seemed to be truly enjoying and embracing the moment. While the zingers were flying thick and fast, there was a lot of love being shared around as well.
In fact, this reviewer had so much fun, he nearly ‘bl*nked’ himself!
The Chapel auditorium is set up with traditional stadium seating, as well as café – style chairs and tables at the front of the room. Such a specific layout gives the evening equal doses of traditional cabaret sophistication and variety television appeal.
With outstanding attention to detail, flanked by a shiny full – length streamer curtain, funky backing music, a pair of podium blocks, and a row of remote-controlled spotlights, Dolly Di*mond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks has the legitimate look and feel of a live studio recording. The retro-inspired set design is both a tongue-in-cheek tease and loving tribute to our collective love of game shows.
A Dolly-cious twist on a tried and true formula, this Diamond really sparkles. Tickets are selling fast, so don’t miss out!
Dolly Diamond’s Bl*nkety Bl*anks has three more performances on Sunday 22nd, Friday 27th and Saturday 28th January.