Before being awarded a Damehood, plain 'Mrs Edna Everage' made a number of appearances in Barry Humphries' own revue shows at various comedy clubs in London. At the time of her first appearance in a West End show was in 1969 when, at the time, Barry Humphries was actually more well-known for writing the Barry MacKenzie strip-cartoon that appeared in the satirical Private Eye magazine. It wasn't really until Mrs Edna Everage was awarded her Damehood and became Dame Edna that she finally came out from the shadow of Barry Humphries and her popularity took off with West End audiences, leading to extended theatre seasons from the late 1970s onwards. Due to her genorsity as a performer, Dame Edna would also allow a small amount of time in her shows for both Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone to make short appearances. Sir Les Patterson even had his own West End show in the mid-1990s. Dame Edna's Christmas 2013 show at the London Palladium was billed as being her 'Farewell Tour'.
Just a Show
Previewed 14 March 1969, Opened 17 March 1969, Closed 26 April 1969 at the Fortune Theatre
Housewife - Superstar
Opened 16 March 1976, Closed 15 May 1976 at the Apollo Theatre
Transferred 19 May 1976, Closed 10 July 1976 at the Globe Theatre (now Gielgud Theatre)
One-man show featuring the characters 'Dame Edna' with 'Les Patterson' and 'Sandy Stone'. Performed by Barry Humphries and directed by Ian Davidson with sets by Brian Thompson and costumes by Jane Hamilton.
A Night with Dame Edna
Previewed 12 December 1978, Opened 13 December 1978, Closed 28 April 1979 at the Piccadilly Theatre
One-man show featuring the characters 'Dame Edna' with 'Les Patterson' and 'Sandy Stone'. Performed by Barry Humphries and directed by Ian Davidson with sets by Diane Millstead and costumes by Kenneth Everage, Jane Hamilton and Zandra Rhodes.
An Evening's Intercourse with Dame Edna
Previewed 1 February 1982, Opened 4 February 1982, Closed 10 April 1982 at Drury Lane Theatre
One-man show featuring the characters 'Dame Edna' with 'Les Patterson' and 'Sandy Stone'. Performed by Barry Humphries and directed by Ian Davidson.
Dame Edna Back With A Vengeance
Previewed 10 November 1987, Opened 17 November 1987, Closed 9 July 1988 at the Strand Theatre
Returned 9 March 1989, closed 29 April 1989 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane
The return March 1989 season was subtitled 'The Second Coming'. One-man show featuring the characters 'Dame Edna' with 'Sir Les Patterson' and 'Sandy Stone'. Performed by Barry Humphries.
Les Patterson Rampant in Whitehall / Les Patterson Has A Standup
Opened 24 June 1996, Closed 29 June 1996 at the Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios) Transferred 3 July 1996, Closed 20 July 1996 at the Albery Theatre (now Noel Coward Theatre)
The transfer was renamed 'Les Patterson Has A Standup'. One-man show performed by Barry Humphries.
Dame Edna: The Millennial Musical
Previewed 14 April 1998, Opened 21 April 1998, Closed 27 June 1998 at the Haymarket Theatre
Dame Edna Everage, housewife and superstar, returns to the London stage. But are we ready for her??? Barry Humphries brings his ever popular creation, Dame Edna Everage, back to London's West End. Dame Edna herself writes about her new show:
Dear Party Possums, I have always been an icon and now I'm an icon for the millennium. Let's face it, there aren't many real megastars left. That's why I'm moving into the most beautiful theatre in the West End of London, the Theatre Royal Haymarket, to do some serious caring and sharing next April. It's as intimate as your home and as luxurious as mine! It's nearly a decade since I did one of my big flesh and blood shows, and a whole generation have been born who have not experienced my special magic. Now I have created a musical - a family show that sophisticated adults can enjoy as well, with gorgeous songs and above all colour and movement! Whatever happened to those essential ingredients for a good night out? Well here I am! And this extravaganza - because that's what just what it is - will reveal. It's the story of my life in Song and Dance, with a gorgeous cast and Madge! My new show is so spectacular... it's frankly Millennial darlings. It's my biggest, best show ever, and it's been crafted especially for you and your loved ones, business associates and same-sex partners. I've missed you Possums. Don't miss me. - Love Dame Edna
The cast featured Barry Humphries as 'Dame Edna' with Emily Perry as 'Madge Allsop', Paul Bentley, Julia Goss, Penelope Woodman, Kerris Peeling, Ben Stock, James Murdock, Lucie Florentine, Rachel Stanley, Jennifer Morton and David Langham. Written and devised by Barry Humphries with additional material by Ian Davidson, lyrics by Kit Hesketh-Harvey and music by James McConnel. Directed by Alan Strachan with choreography by Lisa Kent, designs by Paul Farnsworth, costumes by Stephen Adnitt, lighting by Howard Harrison and sound by Fergus O'Hare.
"Dame Edna is back! The Aussie megastar has done the unthinkable and banished herself from long sections of her own show. This to a musical telling us the story of her childhood. With the aid of lyrics by Kit Hesketh Harvey, she whisks us back to her suburban Melbourne past. In a brilliant Dickensian parody of the musical Oliver! - complete with chorus line - we get the full story of Edna's courtship with Norm, a meeting with her mother and glum childhood friend Madge (Madge Allsop, brilliant as ever) as well an a glimpse of Rupert Murdoch... In the second half, Edna does her nurturing solo act, unleashing that unique brand of mauve-rinsed malevolence on a audience who pay to be humiliated. Just don't sit in the front four rows if you don't want your babysitter phoned at home and your private details intimately probed in public. The whole show is introduced by the belching Sir Les Patterson, the inspirationally funny Australian Minister for Culture who, flies undone, spits at those in the stalls while eyeing up the sheilas. Barry Humphries daring new musical departure doesn't always work but when it does it's terrific. Live on stage Dame Edna still generates an awesome comic voltage" The Daily Express
"For the first time in ten years London audiences can see in the flesh the Diamant? Dame Edna, Australia's all-time answer to charges of perfect taste and social discretion... The new show, written and devised by a certain Barry Humphries, carries the subtitle 'An Icon Returns', and this subtitle is in turn sub-subtitled, since the evening sets out to be a musical. It remains a musical until the interval, providing valuable biographical material concerning Edna's early life - the faithful Madge Allsop's younger days, too - and their convict ancestors. After the interval Dame Edna appears before us in shocking pink, ruched with silver, and does the interactive mockery at which she has no peer. A contrivance of no importance takes us back a hundred years or so to a London street crammed with orphans, piteous cripples, ragged women and an Elephant Man... The dialogue and songs here, and in the courtroom, Newgate and convict ship scenes that immediately follow, are the high spots of the musical half, and of the prepared material as a whole... [a] mostly jolly evening." The Times
"It has to be admitted that the first half often severely tries audience loyalty. After a blissful opening 10 minutes in which the great cultural attache Sir Les Patterson regales the audience with a tidal wave of hilarious filth, all the while adjusting the massive member beneath his trousers and spraying the front rows with spit we move into a pastiche revue described as the 'musical foreplay'. It tells the story of Edna's life and the lives of her ancestors, while parodying almost every musical you have ever seen, from Oliver!, to the current, lingerie-laden revival of Chicago, and has a full though hardly distinguished supporting cast. The satire is not nearly sharp enough and the lyrics too rarely find their mark. Whenever Humphries himself is not on stage, in a variety of incarnations ranging from Dame Edna's mother to a hideously plausible Rupert Murdoch, the comic temperature falls alarmingly... This musical extravaganza is a bright idea that has not worked out and it should have been dramatically cut on the road to allow us a good deal more of the ever-reliable Sir Les... Matters improve greatly after the interval, when Dame Edna is allowed to take solo flight. The joke of the megastar insulting individual members of the audience to the huge delight of everyone else may be familiar now but it is one that never fails... yet I had the uncomfortable feeling last night that Dame Edna was recycling too much material from earlier shows, and the new gimmick, in which she phones up the babysitters of members of the audience, failed to ignite... The faint suspicion remains that Dame Edna may be a megastar who is just past her glorious comic prime." The Daily Telegraph
The Millennial Musical - Dame Edna in London at the Haymarket Theatre previewed from 14 April 1998, opened on 21 April 1998 and closed on 27 June 1998
Eat Pray Laugh! with Dame Edna
Previewed 13 November 2013, Opened 15 December 2013, Closed 5 January 2014 at the London Palladium
The Barry Humphries Farewell Show - Dame Edna waves goodbye during Barry Humphries Farewell Tour at the London Palladium this Christmas. Barry Humphries invites London theatregoers to Eat Pray Laugh! during his Farewell Tour - featuring appearances from Dame Edna, the cultural attaché the Honorable Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone.
Act One of Eat Pray Laugh! features gentle, grandfatherly Sandy Stone and the outrageous Sir Les Patterson - according to Dame Edna "this is just a bit of foreplay really before I make an orgasmic appearance in Act Two!" Surrounded by spectacular sets and dancers, Dame Edna promises to 'empower' audiences as she meditates on the big issues of loss, gender, climate change, gay marriage and ethnicity.
This brand new show is directed by award-winning Australian theatre director Simon Phillips with designs by Tony Award-winning Brian Thomson.
"So this is it: at the age of 79, Barry Humphries is kicking off his heels, calling time on a career dominated by his Aussie housewife Dame Edna, and writing himself into the history books as one of the great satirists of our age. The first half of this farewell sees a medley of Humphries' other characters... In the second half, Dame Edna rules the roost, her lines sparkling as much her sequins... A lot of audience interaction oils Humphries' wheels; it's pulled off fairly well when hapless souls are dragged up on stage but it's even better when he leaves them in their seats for some razor-sharp banter. OTT and un-PC, Eat, Pray, Laugh! might make you spit out your Maltesers but my God, you'll laugh." The London Metro
"That he can be as inventive and disrespectful at 71 makes his departure a surprisingly wistful affair... Dame Edna fills the second half, and she is glorious - a force of nature, moulding the audience into co-conspirators, marrying a bewildered couple on stage, then calling their families with the good news. Her finale is oddly moving, her majestic presence so vital that everyone should share a room with her at least once in their humdrum lives. Humphries jokes about his Sinatra-like retirement, and you hope Edna, at least, has life in her. If not, her departure leaves the stage a darker, emptier place." The Sunday Times
The Barry Humphries Farewell Show - Eat Pray Laugh! with Dame Edna in London previewed from 13 November 2013, opened on 15 December 2013 and closed on 5 January 2014.