Dottie Dixon—the larger-than-life character created by Charles Lynn Frost—has been described as “an accidental advocate.” And there’s no doubt that Dixon—a formidable Spanish Fork homemaker and mother who passionately crusades for gay rights, marriage equality and tolerance within Utah County’s quirkily conservative Latter-day Saint milieu—is a first-class advocate.
But Dixon’s success as a theatrical franchise, beginning on a KRCL radio program and continuing (with Troy Williams’ creative support) in a 2009 Pygmalion Theatre Company production, is anything but “accidental.” In fact, with Dottie: The Sister Lives On!, her ascension seems inevitable. It is all due to Frost’s bigheartedness and sheer love for his community—and for his mother, upon whom the character is based. “Churchy la femme,” as the French say ... sort of.
Yes, as indigenous Utahns, we laugh uproariously at Dixon’s Spaneesh lessons (e.g. “upta, downta and overta”). This show teaches additional grammatical forms such as “frent” and “frignernt.” And the sex-tape video sequence is shriekingly hilarious, in the vein of early John Waters films, but with a suitable Utah County polyester-slip modesty.
But this show does more than simply poke fun at colloquialisms. With co-writer Christopher R. Wixom, and under the direction of Robin Wilks-Dunn, the one-“woman” monologue is expertly crafted, following a well-planned arc from sidesplitting comedy through intelligent farce to tear-jerking drama, and ending on a genuinely inspirational note.
With “intresting accompnamints” provided by Sister Dartsey Foxmoorland (Kent Frogley)—the incontinent Madge to Dixon’s Dame Edna—the show is nothing less than Frost’s tour de force. (Brandon Burt)
"Dottie: The Sister Lives On!" @ Salt Lake Acting Company, 168 W. 500 North, 801-363-0526, through March 11, $15-$38. SaltLakeActingCompany.org
Date: Mar 1, 2012
Address: 168 W. 500 North, Salt Lake City, 84103
Where: Salt Lake Acting Company