Aussie cabaret icon Dolly Diamond is heading back to the UK just in time for the sweltering summer. Not content with storming her native Australian drag circuit, Dolly is bringing her brand new bedazzling variety show here. Ahead of opening night, we had a chat…
Hello Dolly! What do you plan to do first when you arrive in the UK this time round?
I love a British summer and London really comes alive when the sun’s out. I’ve been bloody lucky over the years to enjoy 9 months of the year in Australia and then 3 months working in London, Edinburgh and Europe. I say lucky; it takes work but then I’ve never been afraid of that. I’m already picturing myself licking a 99 in Soho. I can’t wait to mince around London and visit all my favourite bars and some new ones, too. My upcoming residency at Social Convention is new for me. I’ve not been there, so I’m excited to see the place.
Tell us more about that new variety show residency. What can we expect?
I’ve always loved the format — loads of great acts one after the other (like buses). You never have to wait long to see something you like. I’ve been hosting these sorts of shows with other producers for years — in every spiegeltent there is — and I thought it was time to create my own. It’s fast-paced and a mixed bag of entertainment, so I think people are going to really love it.
Time to do some name-dropping. Who do you have lined up as guests?
We’ve loved putting the line-up together and there’s a few surprises still to come. I’m also bringing some fabulous Aussie performers with me for the shows in London and the Edinburgh Fringe season (15-26 August).
I’m excited to work with Carrot again — I absolutely love working with them. We also have Amber Rose Turner, H.R.H Aphrodite, Tim Tation and many more.
The London shows in July are selling really well and there’s talk of bringing the show back in September. Let’s hope so!
What’s your message of hope to those who are anxious about the current toxic climate surrounding drag artists and queer people?
It’s been a bloody difficult time but I know how resilient we can be because we have to be. We’ve earned our place in this world and I’m not about to let a bunch of bigoted arseholes dictate to me about what’s supposedly ‘right and wrong’.
In Australia I’ve had a few story time cancellations and some media coverage and
I’m done with playing nice. If you don’t want your children around drag queens, don’t take them to a show — it’s that bloody simple.
Are you going to be making a beeline for any particular shows while you’re here?
I love watching UK drag and I plan to catch up with many of my much beloved older sisters… I’m obviously referring to the reprehensible Rose Garden and an afternoon at Halfway to Heaven.
I’ll also need to see all my favourite clowns — Myra DuBois, Lola Lasagne, Sandra, Dave Lynn, Mary Mac, Drag With No Name, and any others from the late 90’s that I’ve forgotten.
You can catch Dolly and her Rather Large Variety Night at Social Convention on dates from July 8th.
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