Dolly Wants to Die

Helen Monks

Lung Theatre

Underbelly, Cowgate

From 04 August 2016 to 28 August 2016

Rating: ****

Review by Keith Mckenna

Dolly (Helen Monks) has been round the toy box a number of times. She remembers life in the 1960s and the 1970s when things were different, were better. But now she is discontented. This is no longer a happy toy room.

Welcome to the room of unhappy toys. Jack in the Box no longer wants to engage with others. Bear (Josh Finan´╗┐) has taken a political vow of silence as a protest against oppression in Tibet and keeps himself functioning by the continual consumption of drugs that are stashed in various secret locations of the toy room. Worst of all is Dolly who has had enough and is determined to die.

The problem as she repeatedly insists is not the toys but the state of the world where the children she played with are sent to live.

The toys are currently the play companions to Ben, an eight-year-old. His mother is forced to work night shifts to raise the money to get by. She also has to support Susie aged twenty-two who was a former child companion of the toys and has now returned home saddled with student debt and unable to afford a place of her own.

Dolly has had enough. She tells us what is wrong with the way things are and comments often amusingly on political figures, children’s literature and the difficulties of killing yourself if you happen to be a toy and you live with Bear the pacifist.

She even asks individual members of the audience to kill her, offering them a big stick to hit her over the head or a gun to shoot her with. "Come on," she urges, "you are the species that finds it so easy to kill people in Iraq. Kill me."

This imaginative and entertaining show could easily slip into bleak despair but Helen Monks’s carefully crafted script is more of an exasperated rage that knows a different world is possible. It makes you laugh and most of all it encourages you to care about the injustices being inflicted on ordinary people.