Parton’s show acknowledges the Smoky Mountains’ history of the poverty of depressed 1930s America and also captures the snowy harshness of the Appalachian winters. But Tennessee was segregated until 1954 and looking at this show and its casting, this appears to be a troubling aspect of the state’s history that the producers have conveniently overlooked.
Robert Bathurst is convincingly curmudgeonly as Ebenezer Scrooge with Sarah O’Connor putting in a sweetly sung take on Three Candles. If only the song’s lyrics were as classy as her rendition. The best song of the night that closes Act One and is later reprised to see the audience off into the night is I’m Dreaming Of A Smoky Mountain Christmas, capturing Parton’s country genius at its finest. And credit too to Andrew Hilton’s six-piece band who are on fine form throughout.
Dolly may have whimsically hitched her wagon to a classic of the Christmas canon, but this show is just a little snowbound.
Runs until 8th January 2023
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan