There are three uniquely Australian items in the foyer of Her Majesty’s Theatre, on Dame Edna Everage’s first night. Derryn Hinch, a Les Patterson stubby holder and a pair of Dame Edna glasses. Later on, every member of the audience will take home a gladioli stem, having obediently stood and ‘trembled’ it, at Dame Edna’s request. Even Derryn.
The scented air of hundreds of gladioli at the end of the show compensates for the odious sound of flatulence at the start, provided by Australia’s cultural attaché, the Honorable Sir Les Patterson. In the new show, he surprises everyone with a Catholic relative – complete with ankle-bracelet alarm and a penchant for the young Asian pianist on stage.
Sandy Stone is on next – he is originally from the Melbourne suburbs, like Edna, but they make unlikely neighbours, even on stage.
When the Dame finally appears she has her heels on, and her Gina Rinehart jokes ready.
Edna looks thinner and seems more energetic, having lost weight on the Jenny Craig diet. She is also, predictably, tweeting about it. ‘Like Julia Gillard’s eyes,’ she wrote recently, ‘I’m getting smaller every day.’
Despite having been made a dame by one Labor prime minister (Gough Whitlam obliged) our heroine doesn’t seem to like our current one. But then, does Dame Edna actually like anybody?
Perhaps her love is reserved for spiders – she is, after all, heavily involved with Save the Funnel Web Spider.
Human beings are treated less charitably. Audience members are interrogated about their bedrooms, commanded on stage and then whisked away to be dressed as their past-live selves.
Women as old as Edna – and bearded hipsters in their twenties – were all howling with laughter and obediently waving gladioli. Don’t miss it.