Dolly Punches In to Broadway
BY Mike Diamond
May 21 2009 12:00 AM ET
And it does, for the most part; most of the funny bits and dialogue from the film have been transplanted to the stage verbatim. Allison Janney in particular deftly handles sarcastic Violet's wisecracking one-liners with impressive timing and restraint. Her performance has vague echoes of Lily Tomlin's (who played the role in the film), but she puts her own unique, somewhat more frazzled spin on it.
As Doralee, Hilty is a crowd favorite, spunky and sassy, and has somewhat of a challenge as she is playing not just the role Parton made famous in the movie, but truly Parton herself. From the boobs to the hair to the chirpy twang, it borders more on impersonation than acting, but all to the good. Hilty is cheerful and soulful in just the right combination. She has Parton's vocal inflections down pat.
Stephanie J. Block's Judy is somewhat less impressive. While it's true that Block portrays the most uptight, least interesting member of the trio, her rigid acting style keeps the audience at a distance.
Special mention must be given to Marc Kudisch. As the evil counterpoint to the show's three main stars, his Mr. Hart is hilariously chauvinistic (how's that for a retro phrase?), and Kudish handles the physical comedy of the role with amazing dexterity. He also happens to be sexy as hell if you like that Tom-of-Finland-style piggish-CEO look. And I do!