Sunday, 18 March 2012
Goodbye Dame Edna? Say it ain't so!
Barry Humphries is about to embark on a tour in which he will perform Dame Edna, Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone for the last time! Humphries has been performing this character since 1955 - over 57 years! Anyone who has encountered Edna knows she is a formidable presence (Humphries is very tall, and has an oversized cranium) but, more than that, she has a fierce and cutting wit. Mrs G was fortunate enough to encounter both Humphries and Edna (separately) while working backstage at a theatre some years ago. Humphries' technique involves complete immersion - while in costume and makeup you do not call him Mr Humphries. And, while in costume and makeup, he is completely in character - Humphries disappears and Edna is all that is there.
It actually must be quite a strain to sustain that kind of performance and, approaching 80 years of age, it's little wonder Humphries is electing to take the foot off the gas a bit. Both Humphries and Edna have collected a number of honours on the way - although Edna isn't a real "Dame", Humphries is an Officer of the Order of Australia and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire - and in 2007 a street in Melbourne was named "Dame Edna Alley", in her honour.
Thankfully there is an abundance of footage of Edna to remember her by. I suspect it'll be a long time before we see her like again.