With celebrity panellists pitted against contestants, running jokes and a backdrop of double entendre comments, TV game show Blankety Blanks (and other versions) played to audiences in Australia, the UK and USA in the 1970s and 80s.
Now Melbourne-based cabaret artist Dolly Diamond is bringing her own version, Dolly Di*mond’s Bl*nkety Bl*nks, to Fringe World. Seesaw caught up with Dolly to fill in some of the blanks.
Seesaw: When did you first know you wanted to be a performer?
Dolly Diamond: I grew up performing and was lucky enough to play the title role of Annie, in the musical Annie (when I would sing “The sun’ll come out tomorrow”, you knew it bloody would. I grew up in London and moved to Australia ten years ago. I feel as if I’ve spent most of my working life on stage, or at the bar.
S: What do you love most about what you do?
DD: It’s a remarkable job really… not many people receive applause when they’re at work. I really love the laughter, it’s my drug of choice (also Valium) I used to try and get a laugh at any cost but as you mature as a performer you learn to work with an audience, not against them. I’m so comfortable on stage these days… but I do like to make people squirm a little.
S: Career highlight?
DD: I recently celebrated a 15 Year Anniversary Gala at the Atheneum theatre in Melbourne and it was such a magical evening. I had an array of special guests: Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Choir, Footscray and Yarraville City Band, the Phones and many more. It feels like such an achievement if you can sustain a career in this business we call show.
S: Career lowlight?
DD: I tend not to dwell on the low points of this job. I certainly couldn’t name names. I work really hard to make a quiet or dull audience enjoy themselves, that’s my job. However, I’ve learnt over the years that not everyone is going to love you, not every gig can be a fiesta and you can’t push shit up hill. *Fact.
S: You’re no stranger to Fringe World. What made you decide to return this year?
DD: It’s my third Fringe appearance and I feel like my audience is growing. It’s not easy when you’re not as well known in a different state but I’m not afraid of a challenge (or an altered state). I feel like this show has such a broad appeal as it’s such a well known game show. It’s been a part of our lives for so many years, here in Australia with Graham Kennedy and in the UK with Lily Savage. There’s even a current version on Ru Paul’s Drag Race, with the Snatch Game.
S: Tell us about your 2019 Fringe World show, Dolly D*mond’s Bl*nkety Bl*anks
SS: Our version of Blankety Blanks relies on the various Perthonalities we’ve lined up… and they’re all really special. We have two audience members as our contestants and, of course, we have no idea what they’re going to say, or what they’re going to add to the mayhem. So it’s really my job to hold it all together and that’s the part I love the most.
S: Aside from your show, what are you looking forward to seeing/doing at Fringe World?
DD: I can’t wait to get over to Perth Fringe. It’s always such a breath of fresh air to be in the West. I feel like it’s such a relaxed way of living and thinking; there’s a lot to be said for being away from all the other capital cities. Perth people enjoy life and don’t have anything to prove and I admire that… it’s how I live my life. I’ve booked tickets for Feminah and La Soiree.