Dorothy Paul – ‘The Dennistoun Diva’, King's Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Rapture Theatre Company
Jools Walls and Jim Browning (stage management)
Dorothy Paul, John Crawford (pianist), Lyn McAndrew (special guest), Lisa le Grove, Lawrie K Baxter and Margaret Woods (special guests Lah Dee Dah)
Running time

Still gallus after all these years!

The word ‘diva’ has changed from its original definition a ‘…famous female singer’ and has come to mean a strutting, snarling, demanding creature as portrayed in a recent chocolate advert. Dorothy Paul (aka The Dennistoun Diva) is indubitably the former, her warm, natural, self -effacing style bearing no resemblance to the latter.

Her latest show has been especially written for the Glasgow International Comedy Festival and largely takes the format of previous winners. The stage is bare apart from a grand piano, a set of two clear plastic chairs and matching table with some flowers in the corner. A white cut out of a ‘stair heid windae’ on the back cloth is a wee nod to Paul’s Glasgow past.
Dressed in overall, hairnet, rolled down stockings and tartan pom-pommed slippers, Paul appears as the duster wielding theatre cleaner. This weel kent alter ego is the perfect vehicle for Paul’s clever use of language and gentle innuendo as couthie yarns are brought as up to date as the character’s outlook allows. She could be called Mrs McMalaprop as her speeches are full of comic faux pas like ‘sago magazine ‘, ‘holocaustic ‘ treatment, ‘shit su’ and, ‘sequin dancing’, which is inadvertently the perfect name for that particular pastime!

It is testament to the warmth and good feeling that Paul generates that whispers of recognition rippled through the King’s large auditorium as if it was in a small local hall when the warm esoteric memories of a generation are evoked by this mistress of ‘you know what I mean’ intimacy.

Her small repertoire of songs are accompanied on the piano by John Crawford who chats easily between numbers, and taking on the role of Colin Murray to Dorothy’s warbling Grace Clark, showing Pauls’ comedy gift of doing impressions and changing accents with ease. The singing trio Lah Dee Dah are tricked out in high glamour and have pretty good harmonies but they need let themselves go more to raise their game to the benchmark Puppini Sisters.

Lyn McAndrew hosted a Q & A session made up of pre- delivered questions from the audience. They allowed stories from Paul’s rich past like The One O’Clock Gang, House Call, Wildcat’s The Celtic Story and of course The Steamie as well as some true tales from her life, all told with her own brand of good humour.

Dorothy Paul’s delivery may be a bit more hesitant than in the past but whose isn’t in their seventh decade? Still full of glamour and without a sight of a tight grey perm, she is a great role model for generations of women. This well -loved BAFTA winner, star of stage and (wee) screen has lasted the pace, remaining caustically optimistic in true Glasgow style.
Dorothy Paul performs at East Kilbride Village Theatre as part of South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture’s Young at Heart Festival, 13-22 March 2014, which aims to celebrate the arts as engaging and accessible for all.

King’s Theatre, Edinburgh Saturday 15th March
Box Office 0131 529 6000

East Kilbride Village Theatre Thursday 20th March*
Box Office 01355 261 000

King’s Theatre, Glasgow Sunday 23rd March (Evening & Matinee performance)
Box Office 0844 871 7648** **bkg fee applies

The Gaiety Theatre, Ayr Tuesday 25th March
Box Office 01292 288235

The Palace Theatre, Kilmarnock Sunday 30th March
Box Office 01563 554900