Barry Humphries will finally say goodbye to his best known creation, housewife-turned-gigastar Edna Everage this winter at the London Palladium in farewell tour Eat, Pray, Laugh! Having already bid adieu Down Under with the hugely well-received show in venues across Australia and New Zealand, the comedian will take residence in the iconic West End venue from November 13th.
Eat, Pray, Laugh! will also allow Humphries to say farewell to his other characters including outrageous cultural attaché Sir Les Patterson and gentle, grandfatherly Sandy Stone who carry the first act of the show. Audiences however will no doubt be chomping at the bit as the curtain goes up on Act Two, and Humphries' most iconic character takes centre stage. Promising "a meditation on loss, gender, climate change, gay marriage and ethnicity", the heavily tongue-in-cheek Edna will be surrounded by lavish sets and a bevy of gorgeous dancers as befits a celebrity of her standing and pedigree.
Dame Edna, nowadays well known for her lilac-coloured hair and cat's eye glasses as well as her fondness for gladioli, began life as a drab Australian housewife when Humphries debuted her over half a century ago in 1956. At the time the dadaist performer and comedian used her as a satirical tool to comment on Australian suburban life. Over the years however her costumes and behaviour became more and more outlandish, particularly when he took her over to England in the 1960s. In the 1970s she went from housewife to superstar, then as her popularity reached her height in the 1980s and 1990s from superstar to megastar and finally, (self-coined) gigastar status.
A string of chat shows and game shows as well as 'An Audience With...' TV specials saw Edna in her most comfortable arena - lampooning celebrities who seemed all-too-happy to be the butt of her jokes. As her popularity grew in North America, so did the calibre of her guests. Her larger-than-life persona and scathing but dead-on commentary on society and the cult of celebrity see her treat celebrities like normal people and normal people (in her stage shows, and TV hits like Dame Edna's Neighbourhood Watch) like celebrities. No-one is safe from her biting tongue, and no-one seems to care.
It seems all-too-obvious where her emphasis lies when she states with a wink that her chat-shows are simply "an intimate conversation between two friends, one of whom is a lot more interesting than the other." Humphries had announced his decision to retire the character in March 2012 as he was "beginning to feel a bit senior", however the decision was reversed leading to the sell-out Antipodean shows of this Farewell Tour, during which extra dates had to be added due to high demand.
Dame Edna tickets are on sale now for Eat, Pray, Laugh!, which will play at the London Palladium from 13th November through to 5 January 2014. Don't miss out on your last chance to see this legend in the flesh!