Shows: Wynonah Dove dolls up as Par­ton........................

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

AMER­I­CAN Wynonah Dove Bush has spent the best part of a decade im­per­son­at­ing coun­try star Dolly Par­ton. The like­ness is un­canny, but such trans­for­ma­tions don’t come as eas­ily as you’d think.

Dove calls it her ‘‘labour of love’’.

‘‘Un­der ev­ery­thing I’m a black-haired tomboy,’’ she says, laugh­ing. ‘‘I’m the same height as Dolly and I have the same thing go­ing on up front as she does – they’re all my own, too.

‘‘They haven’t been fixed yet, though I can see the day for that may be com­ing soon.

‘‘I sup­pose you might say I’ve got the phys­i­cal­ity part un­der con­trol from the neck down. The rest I do with makeup and wigs and that I had to learn. I had a few friends who were drag queens give me some tips.’’

Most im­por­tant are the tow­er­ing heels she dons to play the US coun­try mu­sic star.

‘‘The tough­est thing about play­ing Dolly is the shoes. They’re killer,’’ she says.

Singer and song­writer Dove per­formed her own Ap­palachian blue­grass act be­fore her trib­ute work took off. Th­ese days, play­ing Par­ton is a full-time job.

‘‘I sup­pose I play two or three shows a year as my­self, not that I mind,’’ she says.

‘‘I grew up and still live in the Ap­palachian Moun­tains. Dolly’s home is about an hour and half from where I grew up as a hill­billy. I grew up lis­ten­ing to Dolly on the ra­dio, singing her songs. That style of singing comes nat­u­rally.’’

Dove per­forms all of Par­ton’s hits. The tough­est, she says, is 9 to 5.

‘‘It mightn’t seem like a song that’s too tricky but the tempo is kind of fast.

‘‘I have to be care­ful not to move too much about the stage. Do that for too long and you end up winded.’’

Dove says there are ben­e­fits to per­form­ing a trib­ute act.

‘‘It’s cer­tainly a lot more fun to per­form as Dolly than as me. It gives me freedom to do things on stage I don’t do as my­self.

‘‘When I per­form as Dolly, it re­ally is no holds barred. If I want to sit on a lap and rub a bald­ing head, I can.’’

It means Dove re­turns to anonymity when she goes home to the farm.

‘‘I re­ally am a blue jeans and T-shirt kind of girl,’’ she says.

‘‘I can’t walk around there in fancy clothes; well, I sup­pose I could, but I’d get a strange look from the an­i­mals. I tone perfume down. I don’t wear makeup.’’

Dove is joined for The Ladies of Coun­try by fel­low Amer­i­cans Kelly Smith, as Sha­nia Twain, and Sher­rill Dou­glas, as Patsy Cline. The trio tour to­gether for a part of each year be­fore they head their sep­a­rate ways for solo shows.

‘‘We met when we per­formed at the same venue and just hit it off. We just clicked and have a good rap­port,’’ she says.

‘‘All of us are down-to-earth; there are no egos. And all three of us love to travel.’’

The Ladies of Coun­try play Twin Towns on May 18.

Wynonah Dove Bush as Dolly Par­ton.

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