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March 19, 2009

Dame Edna's 'first last tour' provides welcome relief from reality

Dame EdnaPlease 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:



Posted by Tim Smith at 2:35 PM | | Comments (2)


Thanks for the Edna video clip. It brightened my day, In fact, it was Dame good! And I mean that in a most kind and caring way, of course.

You captured the performance perfectly. I loved that surprise at the end. a lovely farewell to a real Dame.

Thanks for the comment, you adorable possum.

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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