Monday, November 24, 2008

"Dame Edna: My First Last Tour": ☼ ☼ BANG BANG baub

Dame Edna is funny, no doubt about it, but she really makes you appreciate Chris Rock. Clearly, there are only a few great comedians who can dominate a stage for an hour and a half or more, and they all do it with a combination of a unique personality and brilliant material. Barry Humphries, aka Dame Edna, tries to do it with his stage persona alone. Edna banters with the audience, she brings audience members on stage, she insults them and watches them react, she tosses them gladioli while singing a silly little ditty and she punctuates the show's opening, the opener to the second act and the finale with amusing videos.

So if the audience just happens to be brilliant, the show might be brilliant, but if it isn't, and it probably isn't more often than it is, and God knows it wasn't yesterday -- then the show goes on 'way too long without much more than a few good laughs and quite a lot of giggles.

Edna is a favorite with the San Francisco audience, as this is the town where she began her ascent in America, and there is lots of innuendo and one particularly wonderful song about her son Kenny, who appears to have many 'friends' here who all love opera and interior design. Edna shot off plenty of good ad libs, such as her comments about the "Nouveau Pauvre" -- that is, the people in the balcony who can't afford better seats -- as well as what she said to the 93-year-old woman in the audience who had been taken to the show as a birthday present: "Dear, you look a lot older than that."

Think Don Rickles in drag, plus a brilliant ending video. Cheapest ticket: $68. It's up to you.


The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "Dame Edna: My First Last Tour" two stars with two BANGLES of Praise and one Bauble of Despair. It's the first time anyone has ever earned two BANGLES and less than three stars. This is because the act itself drags on too long to be worthy of more than two and a half stars, but the elevated ticket price eliminates that extra half a star. Edna is funny but she'd be a lot funnier at $30 in a night club with a two drink minimum.

The first BANGLE of Praise is earned for the wonderful song "My Kenny" in which Humphries pulls off the hat trick: he rhymes 'state trooper,' 'CNN is super,' and 'Anderson Cooper.' The second BANGLE is for her comment when she is tossing her endless supply of gladioli into the crowd: "these gladdies were grown on my organic farm with my own manure." OK, that's the kind of humor you get with Dame Edna. We thought it was funny.

The Bauble of Despair must be given to the jackass in back of this reviewer who began laughing before the curtain came up and continued through every single line for the first ten minutes. It wasn't a laugh, it was a donkey being put through a wood chipper.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, the Post Street Theater is proud to..."


"...present the wonderful..."


And yet...he was gone, with not a few others, by intermission. So there you go. Two stars, two BANGLES, one bauble and one jackass.


"Dame Edna: My First Last Tour"
Post Street Theater
450 Post Street, San Francisco
Tue-Sun. through Jan. 4

1 comment:

Ian Walker said...

I just discovered your blog, I appreciate the insights and perspectives. Thank you! I hate to appear like a troll, but I couldn't find an email/contact for you short of posting, and I thought you might be interested in Second Wind's video production blog for our current show. It's at:

All the best,