Everage Makes Delightful Debut

The Evening Standard (London, England), December 16, 2011 | Go to article overview

Everage Makes Delightful Debut


Byline: HENRY HITCHINGS

DICK WHITTINGTON New Wimbledon Theatre DAME Edna Everage seems ideally suited to a role in pantomime, so it's surprising that this is her first foray into this beloved form of theatre.

She's a regal, often delightful presence in what is otherwise a rather messy version of Dick Whittington.

Arriving on a flying throne that appears to be made from a dead wombat, she introduces some grown-up humour -- a joke about psychotherapy, for instance -- into the familiar mix of local, topical and deliberately awful gags. It's got bite, but is still suitable for children.

There is none of the aloofness that can mar celebrities' panto appearances. Instead she relishes even the most absurd parts of Eric Potts's production (for which he's also the writer and a second voluptuous Dame). Yet her position is that of amused commentator, not zany participant. The performance isn't always totally assured, and the improvisation is not as acute as it would have been 20 years ago, but it combines subversiveness with class.

Much is made of how thin the plot is, and at one point Dame Edna borrows a programme from an audience member to remind herself of it. …

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