Dame stages farewell to her possums
IT’S crude, rude, offensive, clever, witty, sexist, racist, with spatterings of saliva, sequins and bucket loads of gladioli – Barry Humphries’ Farewell Tour, Eat, Pray, Laugh!, is truly fabulous.
In a society that tries so hard to be politically correct, Humphries’ characters, including Sir Les Patterson, Father Gerard Patterson, Sandy Stone and of course the fabulous Dame Edna Everage, are so unpolitically correct that it’s a breath of fresh air.
Saying goodbye to his Australian fans, who he has entertained for 56 years, is going to be difficult – maybe not for the Melbourne-born comedian, but it will be for us, the people he has made laugh for more than half a century.
A hilarious, three-hour romp, Humphries’ Eat, Pray, Laugh! opens with the infamous Les Patterson, dressed in Hawaiian shirt, shorts, Crocs and socks, plus the strategically placed extra sock in his pants. ‘‘Australia’s answer to Nigella Lawson’’, he follows the popular culture theme of running his own cooking show, Les Get Cookin’.
Flanked by two tall, sexy blondes and two buffed, pretty boys, who reappear throughout the show in different guises, the Aussie larrikin has no shortage of jokes about Julia Gillard or Craig Thompson, sprinkled with plenty of rude cooking innuendoes.
Set in a back yard featuring the iconic tin garden shed and manicured green lawn and TV aerials, Humphries goes from the drunken, groping Les, to the blow-in guest, dodgy Father Patterson, who wears a security ankle bracelet that beeps and lights up each time he approaches the attractive, talented pianist Nick Len, who sits on stage all night tinkling the ivories.
Barry Humphries pulls the curtain on touring with
Throughout the show, Humphries throws in plenty of political observations about Rupert Murdoch, Julian Assange and Gina Rinehart.
The more sombre character of Sandy Stone gives 78-year-old Humphries a moment to sit, rest and philosophise.
The second half gives the audience what they’re waiting for – the everglamorous Dame Edna Everage, who arrives on a life-size elephant. In a retrospective of Dame Edna’s life, we are told of the heartache celebrity life has brought the star and how she’s undergone a transformation.
She’s saying farewell to the cult of celebrity that has let her down and with that Dame Edna launches into her recent experience at an exclusive ashram in India, where George Clooney, John Travolta and the Dalai Lama were guests. With audience participation, Dame Edna flawlessly attacks men and women sitting in the crowd, revealing how clever Humphries is with his quickwitted and spontaneous humour.
Edna talks about how her children and her bridesmaid and side-kick Madge have let her down, and after many sessions of reiki, group hugs and psychic workshops, there are only three things you need in life: to eat, pray and laugh.
With Jenny Craig deals and guest appearances on television no doubt we haven’t seen the last of Humphries’ characters, but Australia will be a lesser country without the hilarious, cynical observation of our Dame on her tours.
In Dame Edna’s final song she sings ‘‘surely you’ll do alright without me – some how’’. Well Edna, we don’t think we will, some how.
Barry Humphries’ Farewell Tour plays Jupiters Theatre from August 25-31.
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Dame Edna Everage