Dame Edna Everage made her first visit to London in 1969. Now, 44 years later, she is making her final visit to London.
Dame Edna Everage is, of course, the creation of Australian Barry Humphries. Now appearing at The Palladium in his show, Eat Pray Laugh! Barry Humphries' Farewell tour, Humphries is embarking on a world tour to say goodbye to his possums. The tour will take him all over the UK, to cities such as Newcastle, Norwich and Manchester. He has already said goodbye to his fans in New Zealand and Australia, but with such a demand for tickets this farewell tour may not come to an end anytime soon.
Humphries was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1934. In 1956, at the age of 22, he created the character of Mrs. Everage, a Melbourne housewife, with a gay son and a lesbian daughter, and a 'husband' who is no good. Dame Edna was introduced to UK audiences in 1969 for a one man show called Just a Show. Humphries was also the author of a comic strip in Private Eye magazine, and he starred in two Barry McKenzie movies in the early 1970s. A few years later he appeared at the Apollo Theatre in Housewife, Superstar as Dame Edna, and at that time introduced to his audiences Sir Les Patterson, a farting, belching, fat man from Sydney; basically Edna's opposite. In the ensuing years, Humphries has appeared on stage in England five more times: in 1979 with A Night with Dame Edna, in 1982 in An Evening's Intercourse, Back with a Vengeance in 1987, Look at Me When I'm Talking To You in 1996 and lastly in 1998 with Edna, the Spectacle.
His new (and final) show, Eat Pray Laugh! is literally a laugh a minute. The first part of the show is Humphries' character Sir Les Patterson. He farts, belches, and unfortunately (for the people sitting in the first few rows of the theatre) spits several times. He also attempts to make some food on a grill, with the help of several of his assistants, all very young and perky. He also invites two members of the audience on stage with him to help him cook while he answers nature's calls (he's got a very bad stomach). While Patterson is in the toilet, his priest 'brother' hits the stage, wearing an electronic bracelet as he is not supposed to get close to young men, and the piano player happens to be a young man.
The humor is quite in your face, but it is in the second act where we are treated to Dame Edna (after spending a few somber minutes with Sandy Stone, another one of Humphries characters). Humphries literally gets dropped on the stage and once on, he is on! The jokes come right and left, he refers to his audience as possums, and calls the people in the balcony the poor plebes. People from the audience are picked on, from their funny names to the funny places where they live. On the night I saw it he chose a young man and an older woman to come on stage with him as he wanted to play matchmaker. He even got the older woman to confess that she hadn't had sex in 12 years! Poor thing. In a Dame Edna moment, she uses a phone to call the young man's wife, who after screening the call, picks up and Edna tells her that her husband is dumping her to marry this older woman. It is all in good fun, and he has the audiences in stitches. Dame Edna leaves no stone unturned.
If you want to laugh out loud for two hours, and say goodbye to one of the most iconic stage stars of our generation, then go see Eat Pray Laugh!, because you surely will be laughing, a lot!