Donald Does Dusty
I must admit to being slightly perplexed by this show. On the one hand it is an extremely sensitive personal odyssey for its creator and performer, Diane Torr, but at the same time it lacks cohesion and the subject matter whilst interesting is likely to mean less to anyone else. It also felt unfinished in its execution, lacking cohesion or any structure which is likely to engage an audience for its hour long duration.
The show mainly focuses on Diane’s older brother who she clearly adored and had a conspirational relationship with from a very young age. This explains the Dusty connection of the title as being infatuated with the music of Dusty Springfield Donald impressed upon his younger sister the importance of comportment and sophistication as he translated them through his idol.
Donald was gay and at the time they were growing up-the late fifties and sixties- this was still a taboo subject. Being mildly successful in the entertainment industry-he released a couple of solo singles and was part of television group The Young Generation- obviously impressed upon the younger Diane; archive footage of BBC performances and front page headlines form The Sun are exhibited as examples of his successes. However it was after leaving the entertainment business and embarking into the world of antiques and eventually property and real estate that he really made the millions he had dreamt of. Unfortunately Donald died at the age of 44 in 1992 from AIDS related causes before he ever fully had a chance to enjoy the fruits of his labours.
Donald Does Dusty is obviously very emotional for Torr to perform and one feels a sense of catharsis emanating from the stage. However despite this heavily drenched emotional atmosphere the whole thing lacked cohesion and on occasion felt awkward. The final scene where the audience is invited to join her onstage to dance to Dusty’s ‘I Only Want to Be With You’ felt superfluous, unnecessary and a little indulgent which is unfortunate as I had very high hopes for this show based on its premise.
Donald Does Dusty is at Summerhall Red Lecture Theatre at 7.35pm

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