Donut Dollies review – Edinburgh Festival Fringe ★★★☆☆

2 mins read

Donut Dollies is a theatre show that reveals a largely unknown moment in American history.

Set in World War Two, the play recounts the story of Ellie, Marnie and Louise. All have volunteered with the American Red Cross to help the international war effort.

The three find themselves on British soil, serving donuts and coffee to the US forces. The play is based on the true stories of the women who served in this way.

As this is a play written by and about American subject matter, the play takes an American format, with lots of direct address to the audience.

All three women have different back stories. Marnie’s husband has already died in the war; Ellie wants to serve, and see something of the world; Louise is a General’s daughter, wanting to prove that she can serve in her own way. As we follow the women’s progress, we learn more of their backstories, their hopes and their dreams. 

The play is a character study. It has short scenes in which the women gel as a team, or discuss the war’s progress. 

The one real moment of drama concerns a lost item, which is never fully resolved. Two of the three women have little of note happen to them. 

Final thoughts

There is a good story here, but the moments of tension which do exist could have been developed further. The structure as a whole could perhaps benefit from revision, which could help to strengthen each woman’s individual story. These women were there to offer comfort to others, but we should be able to understand their difficulties too. 

Overall, this is a good effort and has an interesting underlying story. More scenes between the three women where they talk about their hopes and dreams, not those of others in their lives, should help to make the story more cohesive. 

An unusual story, about a forgotten aspect of military history, this piece of theatre could have a successful future life. 

Donut Dollies continues at the Edinburgh Fringe until 12th August.

Feature Image Credit: Palm Tree and Pine Productions

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