Andrew Tomlins reviews Barry Humphries' farewell show EAT, PRAY, LAUGH at the London Palladium.
Barry Humphries is a man who requires no introduction and, at the age of 79, is touring the world with his farewell tour ‘Eat Pray Laugh’. The show is a celebration of his incredible career. While the second act is dedicated to his most famous creation – the one and only Dame Edna Everage – the first act sees Humphries shine as two of his other famous characters Les Patterson and Sandy Stone. A new character has also been introduced, Les’ brother Gerard.
The show begins with a song and dance, Les is accompanied by an ensemble of four and an on-stage pianist. If you decide to sit in the first few rows of the stalls make sure you wear some waterproof clothing as Les tends to spit a bit when he talks. The sections with Les and Gerard are both extremely funny, but I felt the show became slightly tiresome during Sandy Stone’s segment which closes the first act on an almost depressing note. However, this doesn’t matter too much as it only builds more excitement and anticipation for the Tony Award winning Dame Edna’s grand entrance.
In true Dame Edna style, the 'housewife superstar' enters the stage with a bang, and with a little help from a body double. Edna is known for having no boundaries and she certainly doesn’t hold back whilst performing at the Palladium. While fans of the icon will not be disappointed, Edna also said that she hoped there were audience members who had never seen her live on stage before so she could “reuse some old material.”
The funniest part of the second act involved a little bit of audience participation. Edna picked on several audience members before choosing two victims to join her on stage. I don’t want to give away exactly what happened… but it involved a wedding ceremony and a phone call home to a poor mans wife (well, Edna told her she was now his ex-wife).
Following a wonderful and unique finale it was quite touching to see Humphries take a final bow as himself. He is a remarkable man and his passion for what he does truly came across during his final speech. For a classic, memorable evening at the London Palladium you must see Eat Pray Laugh. I can think of no better way to wave goodbye to one of showbiz’s best loved legends.
Reviewed on Friday 15th November 2013
Eat Pray Laugh runs at the London Palladium until 5th January 2014.