Orlando Fringe 2022 Review: 'Everything I Wannabe!'

All rise for Orlando theater’s real queen, artist and educator Sarah-lee Dobbs.

This year’s Fringe Festival may have more than its fair share of queens, but everybody ought to rise for Orlando theater’s real British royalty, award-winning artist and educator Sarah-lee Dobbs.

Dobbs (who is actually British) returns under the direction of Laurel Clark (who is not), accompanied on the keyboards by longtime collaborator Christoper Leavy (who isn't British either, but does a decent English accent) for an hour of stories and songs about her journey from a lower-class Leicester upbringing to being a struggling actress in London — where Catherine Zeta Jones narrowly beat her out as the leading lady in Bugsy Malone  — and eventually to our American shores.

Dobbs soars on '60s classics like “To Sir, With Love” and an obligatory Beatles medley; and although she never fulfilled her dream of becoming a Bond girl, her tale of turning down a date with the least-loved 007 after George Lazenby (aka Pierce “Mama Mia” Brosnan) kicks off a clever compilation of rewritten spy film themes. An unnecessary participation game translating U.K. slang in exchange for British biscuits briefly broke the otherwise ebullient momentum, but Dobbs quickly recovered with an amusingly incomprehensible Cockney dialect lesson.

The evening ends with an energetic set of songs by an obscure all-female pop group Dobbs declined to join. That might be her biggest career regret, but Orlando’s theater fans should count our blessings that a superstar like Sarah-lee stiffed the Spice Girls, and ended up on our stages instead.

Tickets and show info: Everything I Wannabe!
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