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Linda-Marie Singer is the Movie Maven

The Show Biz Maven

Linda-Marie Singer - Click to Enlarge DAME EDNA: THE ROYAL TOUR
After more than 40 years, Dame Edna still loves making a Spec-tacle of herself
Click to Enlarge Reviewed by Show Biz Maven

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Look up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Well, yes and no. It's DAME EDNA circling the globe in her Air Edna helicopter, and waving back madly to Queen Elizabeth II, President Clinton, and the Pope. Now it's the Bay Area's turn to salute the wacky but wonderful dame as she kicks off "The Royal Tour" at that quaint habitue in San Francisco called the Theatre On The Square. Of course, Dame Edna Everage is really Australian writer and creator Barry Humphries, but as Joe E. Brown said to Jack Lemmon in SOME LIKE IT HOT, "Nobody's perfect."

"HELLO POSSUMS!" she calls out in that endearing, warbling falsetto. Admirers stomp, whistle, and applaud during the two and one-half hour show that gives us that old-fashioned kick Cole Porter once wrote about.

"I'M REAL!" Dame Edna trills as she sashays around the Kenneth Foy set that has a twinge of faux Las Vegas. She waves her trademark gladiolas and smiles like the housewife she is. Maybe that's why we hardly notice the pianist, the popular Billy Philadelphia, who seems superfluous once the energetic star begins to assault our funny bones. Add her larger than life glasses skittering with rhinestones, and there's Dame Edna making a spec-tacle of herself.

And we're just getting warmed up, POSSUMS. Wait until you see that knockout wardrobe designed by Stephen Adnitt! It begins with a shimmering sky blue cloak, followed by a sparkling purple and blue gown that ends in a feathered trim. The rest is pure Edna from the hair -- white rose poofed up just in time for the 1960s, to the jewels - presumably a gift from Harry Winston of Flushing, New York.

"FEEL ME!" she cajoles to the people in the front. "I'M REAL!" she repeats. A final shout -- "LOOK AT ME WHEN I'M TALKING!" Frankly, it's hard not to. Scanning the crowd, she sees what she's looking for. "You, yes YOU! The lady with that (pauses) interesting outfit. What's your name?" The voice crackles back. "Judy." Edna waits. "Is that Judy with a 'y'?"

In the program's second half, the entertainer reveals her Dietrich-like legs as she prances in wearing a fiery red gown slit up to here. Say what you want about Marlene, but Edna has the advantage: She's very much alive. So are those unsuspecting participants called on stage to "perform" and then rewarded with a nutty gift. Take the bottle of Nivea. "I know," Edna says, revealing that customary droll smirk. "Too little, too late…But I mean this in a caring, nurturing way." Polaroid's are popped and everyone's jumping around, including the megastar whose infectious personality and daffy laugh are still winning audiences after more than forty years.

So now POSSUMS. Get ready for the quiz. What's THE ROYAL TOUR about? It's about two and one half-hours of Edna flitting from subjects ranging from her son Kenny who lives in the Castro ("which I assume is a Cuban ghetto"), Ken Starr (his wife wants to know why he doesn't "probe" more at home) to Hillary ("If only he had lipstick on his collar…"). The beauty of the show is that there are no four-letter words. Only ha-ha's. They start as Mini-Ha-Ha's (a little Indian tribe to which your Maven once belonged), and then graduate to real HA- HA'S.

What can Dame Edna do for an encore? You must be joking. Bring on the gladiolas! Scattering them about the theatre, she ends by flinging some to the "paupers" in the balcony. Suddenly everyone is standing and singing some dotty tune along with her, shaking their glads, and hoping for more. Dame Edna doesn't disappoint. "I received a call from the Queen of England who asked me to bring her a souvenir," she confides. "'I WANT AMERICA BACK!'" was the royal message. Too late, your majesty. Edna's got it.

The Royal Tour plays at:

Theatre On The Square
450 Post Street
San Francisco. 

Call for tickets: 

Phone: 415-433-9500. 

Hurry, Possums!

With love & knishes from your Show Biz Maven.

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Last Revised: Friday, May 15, 2015 06:38:58 AM
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