“Run, Jump, Loot and Pillage” to see Dame Edna in Toronto — while you can!
It’s 8:15 and Dame Edna is mowing down the crowd more effortlessly than even the burliest lumberjack chops down a tree.
Lovingly crowned ‘The Grande Dame of Drag’ by her many fans, this Mauve-haired maven lives up to her noble moniker – claiming her rightful place amongst the world’s comedic royalty with her signature sharp tongue and unapologetic repartee.
Dame Edna Everage, the most notable of Barry Humphries‘ onstage personas, performed to a packed house of eager spectators Thursday, on the opening night of her 10-day run at Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre – the only Canadian stop on her farewell tour.
Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye: The Farewell Tour is the triumphant culmination of her career, spanning more than six decades.
Patrons in the front row, be warned. There’s a very high chance you will have the honour of personally becoming comedic fodder for the act. And nothing is off limits.
“What do you do?” the comedian asked of one guest.
“I’m a stay-at-home mom.”
“Yes, but you must do something – actually contribute something to society.”
But no matter where you’re seated, you’re still fair game.
“Let’s all take a look at the people sitting way up in the rafters. Hello, my dearest paupers. Paupers, I haven’t forgotten about you. I will occasionally glance up in your direction, but only in direct proportion to the amount which you have paid. Well, I suppose that’s goodbye, then.”
For those unfamiliar with Dame Edna’s brand of comedy, these quips mocking the audience’s attire, professions, seating location or age can easily come across as childish or elitist, but it’s really all in good fun and usually done rather tastefully.
While there were moments where the ripping seemed like overkill, those moments were fleeting, few and far between. If there’s one thing you can say about this iconic octogenarian, it’s that her rapier wit is still as sharp as ever. So, even if you don’t hold much fondness for insult comedy, there’s still bound to be some material that will have you laughing uncontrollably.
The show itself consisted of a loose mix of scripted monologue and audience engagement, peppered with a few musical numbers here and there. What tied it all together seamlessly was Dame Enda’s ability to instantly ad lib when elements didn’t quite go to plan.
One such example included an ‘incident’ when an audience member was called onto the stage to take part in the act. While still on stage, she beckoned to her companion in the front row to take a picture. Seeing this, the take-no-prisoners performer graciously paused the show to take an impromptu selfie with her guest. Talk about class. Then again, one would expect no less from such a seasoned professional.
Another aspect of this performance that should be noted is its superb production values. From a larger-than-life light display of Edna’s signature stylish glasses, to each performer’s intricately crafted attire, every onstage element was crisp and polished.
Indeed, the entire night was a consistent spectacle of the highest quality from beginning to end.
As the show drew to a close – after the grand musical finale, after the boisterous standing ovation – the man behind the phenomenon reappeared centre stage sans costume, thanking the crowd before imposing one last request.
“Possums, I want you all to promise me one thing. Promise me you’ll come to my next farewell tour!”
Just name the time and the place.
Until then, run, jump, loot and pillage (anything you need to do, really) to grab tickets for this show.
- Dame Edna’s Glorious Goodbye: The Farewell Tour is currently playing at the Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West) until April 19th , 2015
- Shows run daily, except for Monday, April 13th, with double showings on Saturdays
- Running time is approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes (includes intermission)
- Tickets range from $29 to $99, and are available online at Mirvish.com, by phone at 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333, as well as in person at the Royal Alexandra Theatre box office
- Pro-tip: Want to be part of the show? There’s a very good chance of being singled out if you sit in the first few rows, so aim for those seats if you can
Photo Credit: Dame Edna Everage, courtesy of Dainty Group International