Back in the pink, possums, and ready to meet you
In January, Barry Humphries was not a well man. The Australian satirist and comedian had spent four days walking around with a burst appendix, and it was almost the death of him. An operation ultimately saved his life, but travel was out of the question, which meant that Dame Edna Everage could not make a planned appearance in Austin just after the first of the year. (For those who don't know, Humphries and Dame Edna are, well, inseparable.) A lesser 74-year-old might have been sidelined for many months, but in May, Humphries was hale and hearty enough to fly to England for an 11-week stint on British telly, playing Simon Cowell to Andrew Lloyd Webber's Paula Abdul on the BBC series I'd Do Anything, a talent search/competition for a West End revival of Oliver! With that polished off, he flew home and welcomed spring (it's the Southern Hemisphere, remember) with a few dates of his show An Evening With Barry Humphries: Out of Character in Sydney and Melbourne. So he seems to have recovered sufficiently to be able to visit Texas. Which means she of the lilac coif and bejeweled spectacles is able to visit, too.
Indeed, for the last couple of weeks, Humphries has been in Austin, preparing for the inaugural date in Dame Edna's First Last Tour. She dazzles us with four shows at the Paramount this weekend, then troops on to Vancouver and a six-week stop in San Francisco, with assorted gigs in Florida to follow through the spring, capped with a week in San Diego next June. This will be Dame Edna's first visit to Austin, but when we spoke last autumn, she was already keenly aware of our city as "the intellectual heartland of the state." She even expressed interest in having some of her mementos preserved at the Ransom Center. "There are important things that I have kept," she said, "and I think they belong there – don't you? – with Dylan Thomas and whoever else is there." Here's hoping those archives will include the script for her personal adaptation of Ibsen, Edna Gabler.
Dame Edna Everage performs her First Last Tour Friday, Nov. 7, 8pm; Saturday, Nov. 8, 2 & 8pm; and Sunday, Nov. 9, 2pm, at the Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress. For more information, call 866/443-8849 or visit www.austintheatre.org.