Dolly Wants to Die

To say Dolly Wants to Die is a dark comedy is like saying water is wet: the irreverent jokes come left, right and centre, but only a few of them properly hit their target. Set in a children’s playroom, filled with oversized books, toys and cigarettes to keep in proportion with our protagonists Dolly, a foul-mouthed and suicidal social justice warrior, and Mr Bear, a pacifist teddy bear who has taken a vow of silence and has a more than mild addiction to cocaine. It may contain children’s toys but it is definitely not for children.

There’s something distinctly uncomfortable about seeing depression and suicide used for comedic gain.

The reason for Dolly’s suicidal depression is that her owner, Sue, is 22, has just graduated from university and has moved back home because she can’t get a job, meaning Dolly has inherited Sue’s jaded and pessimistic outlook. The ensuing hour consists of Dolly ranting about all the problems that face modern society, covering everything from the evils of cultural appropriation and sexism to the deep-rooted corruption in politics, the media and basically every institution at work in the modern world. They’re all generally amusing observations but none of them are particularly original, and since we’re never offered any real alternative position to Dolly’s all the millennial angst and anger gets a bit tiresome and repetitive.

It’s clear that the company want to make the audience think about the state of modern society, even going to so far as to implicate the audience in Dolly’s continually thwarted suicide attempts: after all, she has no internal organs, blood or windpipe, which renders stabbing and strangulation a tad ineffective. It’s clear that the company have a lot to say and wear their beliefs on their sleeve, but for all that they mock and critique contemporary problems they are also at fault. There’s something distinctly uncomfortable about seeing depression and suicide used for comedic gain, and the fact that Dolly’s depression is magically fixed thanks to Justin Bieber is quite frankly unhelpful for removing the already damaging stigma surrounding mental health. Dolly Wants to Die still requires a lot of work.

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The Blurb

Meet Dolly: a potty-mouth, chain-smoking toy doll. She can sing, dance, throw a tea party like a bitch – literally, anything! Except, that is, the one thing she wants most in the world. Dolly can’t die. A victim of Cameron's Britain, this doll is done playing nice. Presenting first world problems in an imaginary world this offbeat comedy – through music, storytelling and stand-up – explores the peril of entering adulthood and the absolute ball ache of being alive. Written/performed by Helen Monks (Channel 4's Raised by Wolves). Developed with The Lowry & Barnsley Civic.

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