DAME EDNA: BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
There ain't nothing like a Dame!
Well, I completed my intellectual retreat in Chicago by going to see DAME EDNA: BACK WITH A VENGEANCE at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. So I completely missed the 7,000 person anit-war protest march down Michigan Avenue.
From all my experiences in Chicago, Chicago audiences are fabulous audiences who are out to have a great time. Well this audience wasn't any different. You can't help but have a good time when you are sitting in an audience that is whooping it up all night long.
Dame Edna (aka Barry Humphries) is joined on stage at the piano by Master of The Dame's Musick, Wayne Barker, and the two Gorgeous Ednaettes, Teri DiGianfelice and Michelle Pampena.
Dame Edna starts off the show with a ditty "This show is all about you" and that's exactly what it is.
I wonder if it is a special Australian gift (Peter Allen and Hugh Jackman had/have a real knack for audience participation). I've watched Dame Edna on her old TV show and she was very political and very acerbic, which is why I went to see her in the first place. The show last night, albeit enjoyable, was quite mild.
Perhaps she (or should I say he) changes her show based on where she is playing. Last night's show was like watching a nice Don Rickles insult the audience. After bringing one large woman onstage she commented on how nice her shirt fabric was...and wasn't she lucky to get so much of it...
She even brought a couple up onstage and "counseled their marriage" complete with phoning the woman's mother-in-law on stage and having a conversation.
I did have a running thought throughout the evening, which was "has Barry permanently ruined his vocal chords by talking this way for so long..."
Don’t' get me wrong -- the stuff is funny and I laughed out loud a lot. And part of the fun is appreciating the ease and quick cleverness with which she pokes fun at individuals in the audience. And after the gladiola throwing bit at the end (complete with group sing), you do leave feeling good and feeling like you had a good time. I did and I did. But I think I'm fully satisfied.