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Time with 'Dame Edna' proves hilarious diversion

| Thursday, Oct. 9, 2003

“A Night with Dame Edna” opened Tuesday at the Pittsburgh Symphony Heinz Hall and proved to be an extraordinarily hilarious evening.

Dame Edna, the creation of Australian Barry Humphries calls herself an icon and a megastar, among other things.

After her opening night perfomance, one would have to agree that, based on the performance, she is at least one of the funniest characters to grace the stage.

Politacal correctness is out the window as Dame Edna calls them as she sees them, full speed ahead.

Among the highlights of the evening is the way audience members become involved in the show. Dame Edna pulls them into it as she addresses the entire audience but singles out some of those closest to the stage.

Two late arrivers were asked their names and why they were late and Dame Edna goes into a bit about it.

She addresses a “senior” in the front row, and returns to make comments to and about him throughout the show before he ends up on stage at the end in Dame Edna's recreation of the Royal Family of England.

Two women end up dining on pasta on stage during the second act and three others end up with one shoe.

It all is geared to developing more communication between the stage artist and the audience.

Dame Edna points out the foibles and follies of everyday life today through her conversations.

No one is really safe as she talks to people in the boxes on each side of the theater and to those in the balcony.

In the hands of someone else it could come across as mean-spirited and crude but Dame Edna's personality puts her audience at ease so even those who were the brunt of her jibes appeared to enjoy themselves.

She tells stories about her dealings with all sorts of famous people as well as her family.

She also sings, but in the style of actors who think they can sing and does the numbers a little off key with two leggy chorus girls providing appropriate distraction of roving men's eyes.

“A Night with Dame Edna,” in its simplest terms is 2 1/2 hours of some of the funniest material on the planet. It is delivered in her “tough love” tone.

For most of the time the humor is clean. There is no profanity but some of the material is laced with double entendres but nothing severe.

All in all, it is one of the most enjoyable evenings of fun I've had in the theater.

“A Night with Dame Edna” continues through Sunday.

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