Fringe benefit: Help 'Dirty Barbie' get to Edinburgh - The Daily Progress: Entertainment/Life

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Fringe benefit: Help 'Dirty Barbie' get to Edinburgh

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Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012 7:00 am | Updated: 11:25 am, Wed Jan 23, 2013.


It might not be the Dream House, exactly, but Barbie’s going to Edinburgh.

DeeDee Stewart will be taking her one-woman show, “Dirty Barbie and Other Girlhood Tales,” to Scotland’s prestigious Edinburg Festival Fringe in August. And since the show kept audiences in stitches during its sold-out run at Live Arts in November, it made sense for Stewart to bring it back for a fundraiser to help her make the trip to Scotland.

Relax, fellows in the audience; you don’t have to be a Barbie expert to enjoy the show.

“I think it appeals to a number of audiences — to women, to writers, to people who grew up in the South, to people who like humor in the vein of David Sedaris,” said Elizabeth Derby, the show’s publicist. “I think it just gets to the core of a lot of issues about self-love and perseverance.”

Stewart’s show got its start in humorous entries in her Dee Dee’s Living Will blog.

The wellness coach and playwright dives into a variety of childhood adventures in the show, which takes place in the wake of a father’s death and a mother’s decision to uproot her child from wide-open Wyoming and move to small-town North Carolina. The child must start over in a new world and search for new friends and role models, all against a backdrop of music and culture from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s.

“She has full-blown temper tantrums, and you see her fling herself on her bed and cry,” Derby said. “You sort of grow up with her.”

Derby said the show uses humor to explore “the way big things sort of sneak up behind you” while seeing adult circumstances through a child’s perspective. There’s hullabaloo to be had when the child won’t clean her room, for sure. But the bigger issue, right under the surface, is her mother’s method of dealing with all the upheaval and the many ways in which it begins to shape their lives.

“One of the driving forces of the show is DeeDee’s mother’s alcoholism,” Derby said. “[Stewart] is respectful, but she doesn’t skirt around some painful issues.

“I think the humor brings a levity to the pain that makes it more meaningful.”

The respectful approach paid off; Stewart’s show was well received in her hometown of Salisbury, N.C., Derby said. “She took it to her hometown, which I applaud her for,” she said.

Keep an eye out for a promotional “Where’s Dirty Barbie?” feature on Facebook and Twitter, through which people can try to figure out where she is. “It’s a Southern scavenger hunt — scotch on ice optional,” Derby said.

Performances at Live Arts are set for 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and again on June 22, and talkback time will follow each show. Tickets are $20.

The June 23 VIP performance edition has a $100 price tag that includes not only the 60-minute show, but also a bonus 15 minutes of new material and what Stewart calls her “fancy-pants reception” — a catered pre-show reception with the producers and a post-show champagne reception with Stewart.

Get your tickets at or 977-4177, Ext. 108.

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