Dame Edna's 'first last tour' provides welcome relief from reality
Please excuse the delay in posting, cherished cyber-possums, but I just had to escape, however briefly, from the daily dose of fresh hell. So I hopped down to Fort Lauderdale to savor an evening with Dame Edna, who, as her bio modestly puts it, "is probably the most popular and gifted woman in the world today. Housewife, investigative journalist, social anthropologist, talk show host, swami, children's book illustrator, megastar, celebrity spin doctor and icon." Call me old-fashioned, but I'm a pushover for a performer so talented, generous and wise (from the bio: "Her hobbies are caring, sharing and downsizing"), and, suitably refreshed and uplifted, I can now resume normal business.
When I noticed that Dame Edna's current show, billed as "My First Last Tour: A meditation on gender and post-election trauma," isn't scheduled for any performances near our fair city, I just had to make the trek to South Florida. Besides, I couldn't forgive myself if I missed it and it turned out to be Edna's last last tour. So I suggest you do get on down there, too (or get to the few other lucky spots on the tour), especially if you've O.D.'d on bad news lately, like the appalling loss of the Baltimore Opera, to pick a particularly painful example. Dame Edna is damn good therapy.
To be sure, longtime fans of the incomparable Dame (this was my sixth opportunity to bask, live, in her divine Edna-ess during the past decade), will be very familiar with some of her material, but, the other night at the "tucked-away" Parker Playhouse, I found myself laughing as much at the old lines as the new ones. The trip would have been worth it if only to pick up her fabulous description of once-high-flying folks being pummelled hard by the Great Recession: Nouveau pauvre.
And this show contains something the Dame's previous ones did not (SPOILER ALERT!!!) -- a glimpse of the man who created "the universally adored" creature with the mauve hair and spectacular "face furniture" (eyeglasses to the rest of us), Barry Humphries. The way Humphries makes his appearance in this show is quite endearing.
To give you a taste of the Dame Edna experience, here's a clip from a 2005 appearance in Montreal:
BALTIMORE SUN FILE PHOTO