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GOODBYE, DAME EDNA

By Iride Aparicio
Photos Courtesy: SHN

DAME EDNA

SAN FRANCISCO, CAIf laughter is the best medicine, the audience got healthier during  “DAME EDNA’S Glorious Goodbye, The Farewell Tour,”  that was  presented at SHN Orpheum theatre on March 17th. The show was so funny, that the audience kept laughing from its beginning to the end, and the show, with intermission, was two hours long.

Actor BARRY HUMPHRIES is concluding a career of 50 years with this show, in which he gives his audience the chance to say goodbye, to DAME EDNA EVERAGE the Australian Melbourne housewife, a character he created, who keeps the audience enthralled, with the wit that comes out of her wicked tongue. This night, DAME EDNA was nor as boisterous as she was before, but she still managed to get her San Francisco's fans laughing with  her meditations about everything, including loss, gender, and gay marriage.

The show began with a video montage of several pictures of EDNA in which she describes herself, humbly, as "the woman that all girls wanted to be.” In a voice over, she relates the audience incidents of her past , which include her marriage to a man who died from prostate cancer, and stories about her two daughters.  The cutest picture on  the montage, however, was the photo of herself as a baby with pink-color hair, wearing a small version of her traditional glasses. “Hello San Francisco,” she said to the audience, standing on the stage wearing a bright pink gown encrusted in diamond-like stones and a long fringe instead of hem. (see picture at the beginning of this article) “I am back at the historical SHN Orpheum Theatre. Not only is yours the most exciting city in the United States, but is is part of my History. It was here, that I did my first American show. (in l998, at the Theatre on the Square.) Position yourselves, we will provide the music and the dancers, and the lights. You will provide the laughter and a standing ovation at the end. ”

During her show, she talked about the  “teckies” (As those who work on High Tech are called) calling them "the patrons who can afford the front seats, (the most expensive) in the theatre". She told the audience about her tour to San Francisco, (making everybody laugh because the place she mentioned by name is most dangerous district in the city) and also about her meeting with BILL COSBY, in an Ashram in India, who had invited her to have a “drink” with him.

Most of the  first part of her show included the audience's participation of people sitting on the front seats. She asked them simple questions, such as their names, where they worked and where they were from, and made funny remarks based on their answers. The audience loved it.

 In one of  her “skits,” after telling the audience that she was disposing of her possessions, she  tossed one of her two “diamond bracelets” to a woman in the audience. After that, she spent about ten minutes giving the woman many reasons why she should return the bracelet. The bracelet was going to bring her nothing but bad luck, including losing her best friend.  

The best “skit” of the night, was the wedding on the stage, of two people, from the audience that she described as having “similar" DNA. The bride’s name was KIKI, and she was much older than BUCK, her groom, but since both were single, they both agree to "get married" with DAME EDNA officiating their wedding. The skit was very funny, but when the bride and groom, slowly read aloud their wedding bows to each other, it gave the audience a touching moment.

DAME EDNA AND ENSEMBLE

The brand new show, directed by award-winning Director SIMON PHILLIPS, moves smoothly.  Musical Director & on stage Accompanist, JONATHAN TESSERO, played the piano well, and the synchronized dances of the ensemble: RALPH COPPOLA, BROOKE PASCOE, EVE PREIDEAUS, and ARMANDO YEARWOOD, Jr., were wonderful. DAME EDNA danced, and sang. And she sang with feeling. Her rendition of “You will Have to Do Without me Somehow & Me Time” written by composer WAYNE BARKER, made us nostalgic.

DAME EDNA EVERAGE, the purple-rinsed Melbourne housewife, was created in l955,  by BARRY HUMPHRIES, a Law, Philosophy and Fine Arts student at the University of Melbourne, where he performed regularly in the university revues before joining the Melbourne Theatre Company in Australia.

During "her life,"  ‘DAME EDNA,  has been considered one of the greatest stars, winning a Tony® award for her Broadway show, The Royal Tour. EDNA has played Broadway on numerous occasions and packed theatres, around the world,  among them, the Royal Albert Hall  and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. She has also given several performances for the Royal Family. Her Television credits include “A NIGHT on MT. Edna” and two series of her chat show: “The Dame Edna Experience.” As EDNA, she has written three books: “Dame Edna’s Coffee Table Gook, Dame Edna’s Bedside Companion and My Georgeous Life, her auto-biography.

This time, with her Farewell Tour, DAME EDNA completes a full circle in her life by coming to San Francisco the USA city where it all began. ” Thank you San Francisco, this brief  farewell visit is a bouquet of grateful gladioli”. she said poetically.

DAME EDNA

Standing, holding a long-stem single gladiola on their right hand, (given to them by the people on the stage) those members of the audience who had flowers, began moving the stems from side to side in rhythm with the music. She stood on  the stage looking at them. It was her farewell to those people that for many years she had given her gift of laughter. Inside the packed SHN Orpheum theatre in San Francisco, the audience stood on their feet clapping, silently telling her: "Thanks for the happy memories. Good bye, DAME EDNA.

Performance Dates will be from March 17 to March 22. at the Orpheum Theatre in S.F.  for information contact shnsf.com or call 888-746-1799