Australian comedian and entertainer Barry Humphries, along with his most famous creation Dame Edna Everage, is bowing out in style. Humphries will transfer his upcoming Farewell Tour, Eat Pray Laugh!, to the UK's home of variety, the West End's London Palladium for a limited season from 15 November 2013 (previews from 13 November) to Saturday 8 January 2014.
Eat Pray Laugh! will feature other Humphries creations, cultural attaché the Honorable Sir Les Patterson and the grandfatherly Sandy Stone in Act One, but this will be "just a bit of foreplay" for the "orgasmic" Act Two appearance of Humphries' most famous character, the outrageous, Tony Award-winning "housewife superstar", Dame Edna.
Dame Edna commented on her West End return: "I've been away from home too long, possums, and my true home is the London Palladium. Book now for the housewarming party of the century!" In the show, Dame Edna, surrounded by spectacular sets and dancers, promises to "empower" audiences as she meditates on the big issues of loss, gender, climate change, gay marriage and ethnicity.
Barry Humphries' Farewell Tour has already had extended runs in Australia and New Zealand. In the UK, Eat Pray Laugh! opens first at the Milton Keynes Theatre on 23 October 2013 and play Cardiff and Edinburgh before transferring to the London Palladium. Additional dates – including Newcastle, Norwich, Leeds, Bristol and Manchester - have also been announced through spring 2014.
Humphries' brand-new production is directed by award-winning Australian theatre director Simon Phillips, who directed the original Priscilla Queen of the Desert. It's designed by Brian Thomson, whose other credits include the original Australian and London productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and The Rocky Horror Show, as well as the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. Eat Pray Laugh! is produced by Paul Dainty of The Dainty Group and James Cundall of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions.