Thursday, April 16, 2015

Theatre Review: Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye - The Farewell Tour

By: Alison Silveira

The incomparable Dame Edna Everage returns to Toronto to bid her final farewell. Unmistakable in her signature cat eye frames and lilac hair, she dominates the stage with her sassiness and quick witted humour. Dame Edna is played by the legendary Barry Humphries who created the colourful icon in the 1950s and has been entertaining audiences the world over. With a career spanning over 60 years, Dame Edna has decided it is time to say goodbye to her precious "possums" (whom she fondly refers to as her fans) and does so in glamorously flamboyant fashion. 
The comedienne bursts onto the stage in a song and dance number with her backup dancers and pianist. She surveys the audience in the first few rows and pokes fun at a few of them for the duration of the show. While she berates them on their physical appearances, their homes and their professions, the rest of us roar with laughter. "You are an incredibly attractive lady...well, compared to the woman beside you, anyway," she tells an incredulous young woman. Some of us chuckle quite guiltily, but we know it is all in good old fashioned fun and it is easy to forgive an over the top 81-year-old who has us wrapped around her not so little perfectly manicured finger for two and a half hours. 
Dame Edna delivers her harmless, sardonic jabs with impeccable comedic timing without missing a beat. While she is old enough to be my grandmother, she possesses the physicality of a 20-year-old athlete in fine form. If comedy was an Olympic sport, Dame Edna would be decked out in gold.  
In the second act of Dame Edna's theatrical spectacle, she informs us that she has just returned from India, where she had retreated to an ashram to escape the public eye. There she meets O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby, the latter of whom offers to fix her a drink. With her newfound spirituality and wisdom, she officiates a wedding between two unsuspecting audience members, but not before adorning the bride in a colourful veil and the groom in an Indian turban. The whimsical wedding makes for great fun, as the embarrassed "couple" hesitantly answers Dame Edna's probing personal questions.  
With audacious one liners and non-stop laughs, you will be glad (while you wave your gladiola) that you had the privilege of Dame Edna Everage gracing you with her honourable presence.  

Starring Barry Humphries
Directed by Simon Phillips
Dame Edna plays at the Princess of Wales Theatre until April 19, 2015.

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