Edinburgh 2022: Review: HIYA DOLLY! at TheSpace @ Surgeon's Hall

Dolly the sheep takes to the stage to tell her story!

By: Aug. 25, 2022
Edinburgh Festival
Edinburgh 2022: Review: HIYA DOLLY! at TheSpace @ Surgeon's Hall

Edinburgh 2022: Review: HIYA DOLLY! at TheSpace @ Surgeon's Hall Hiya Dolly! is a spin on the title of the classic Jerry Herman musical, with an even cuter protagonist. The show retells the story of how Dolly the sheep, the first animal to be cloned from adult cells came to be, and the media storm that followed.

The six-strong cast share researcher and reporter roles, apart from Jessica Donnelly, who is just precious as Dolly. A delightful mixture of adorability and attitude dressed in a kilt and a wig and fringey jumper nodding to her woolly disposition, she leads the audience through the narrative in style, leaping in and out of the story.

Mark Baeuchamp and John Fagan have endearing rapport as the research leads behind Dolly's birth, Ian Wilmut and Keith Campbell, respectively. Alana Johnson, Justin Newell and Alice Wilkinson play the remainder of the research team among other characters. Accents slip between Scottish and American in places, but Newell and Wilkinson's "love in the lab" romance is a highlight.

The cast is accompanied by a musical duo, Ciaran McGhee on guitar and Adam Smith on fiddle, leading them in several parodies based on mostly Scottish tunes. While some choruses are better than others, such as "I will clone 500 cells...", the musical narrative is aptly Scottish reflecting the setting of our tale.

The set pieces are fairly static, a desk and microscope here and there, with a pen centre-stage for when the fantastical farm animals start showing up. Direction by Andy Jordan keeps a nice page, pausing for more sincere moments, although the odd comedic character is overly exaggerated.

Vince LiCata's script manages to squeeze in a lot of the science, capturing the frustrating and time-consuming work involved in cloning a sheep but makes sure to introduce less well-known concepts in an accessible manner, with a good pinch of humour to help sell the story, although a couple of jokes about one of the character's eventual suicide should be removed in future runs. A baa-rilliant concept for a show, this science-themed musical comedy is a great choice for the Fringe!

Hiya Dolly! at theSpace @ Surgeon's Hall until 27 August