Doll is bold, blindingly colourful and a little batty.
The beauties and brains behind the show are Babushka, a trio of local ladies consisting of Alicia Cush, Bethan Ellsmore and Judy Hainsworth. These three talented, stylish and side-splittingly hilarious women have created a collection of skits and songs that will ensure you never look at dolls the same way again.
From cuddling Cabbage Patch babies and behaving like Bratz, to sticking pins in voodoo dolls, this show will make you ask the uncomfortable questions. How do we use dolls to objectify, pacify, falsify and deny? And what do Ken and Barbie do when you aren’t looking?
The Babushka gals will be on stage, singing their hearts out, with influences ranging from Regurgitator to Offenbach. Don’t expect them to stay true to a single character as they all flit and flutter between roles, performing as a variety of different characters and bringing into play themes like body image, feminism, materialism and consumerism.
Alicia chatted to us about the show, describing it as “a quirky romp into the world of dolls, from Barbies to blow-up dolls, set to a soundtrack of ‘90s pop, nursery rhymes, opera and rock’n’roll.”
Her role? “I am Day-to-Night CEO Alicia Dolly, letting all young girls around the world know that you CAN have it all – a wonderful husband (Kenneth), the Dreamhouse, a pink corvette, a professional career AND two and a half children! I’m practically perfect, but sometimes I need a Valium-laced martini and a lie down during the twins’ nap. Accessories included: laptop, nappy bag and a bottle of Sav Blanc.”
The show sits on the side of unconventional, and because of this, may scare some potential doll-lovers away. But Alicia is quick to point out that “this show is the perfect girls’ night out for those ladies who love to revel in the nostalgia of all things ‘dolly’ from their childhood … and maybe learn a little too much information about dolls for adults (wink wink).”
The set has been modelled on the plastic symbol of domestic bliss the girls loved in their youth. “It has been inspired by the plastic and fantastic overkill that is the iconic Dreamhouse,” Alicia confirms. “And, of course, our costumes are modelled on the ever-stylish and most popular fashion doll in the world – Barbie! There will be power dressing, a splash of Bratz and a ‘meringue’ Princess dress like no other. Disclaimer – we do not have Barbie’s 39-18-33 measurements which means, unlike Barbie, we can actually walk upright and enjoy a good burger for lunch.”
Her favourite moment in the show is the Andrew Sisters-like take on Destiny’s Child’s Survivor, where they reveal some real-life dolly survivor stories that the girls collected from fans and friends. “All we can say is that if your dolly was your first BFF, we’d hate to know what you did to your enemies!”
The girls picked up more than their fair share of Barbie trivia as they put the show together; trivia that Alicia is thrilled to be able to share with someone. “Did you know that Barbie first went to the moon four years before Neil Armstrong,” she marvels, “and ran for President six times since the ‘90s? All in a pair of stilettos and not a hair out of place.”
This a show that delivers everything you won’t expect – and all in neon bright colours, with a splash of sass and a whole lot of excellent singing.
Doll will be staged at the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts from 20 to 23 May. Visit www.judithwrightcentre.com or phone 07 3872 9000.