Tuesday, March 30, 2010

All About Dame Edna

I'd been working on my review of All About Me when it was announced that the show would close 3 months early, on April 4. I thought about whether or not it made sense to finish my review, which I don't think will encourage anyone to see the show unless they are huge Dame Edna and Michael Feinstein fans, in which case, they've probably seen it already. Still, I feel that if the producers invite me to see a show, I owe it to them to finish my review.

In the 90-minute show, written by Christopher Durang, Barry Humphries, and Michael Feinstein, Feinstein and Dame Edna booked the same theater. They spend the first half arguing about whose show it is and the second coming together to create a show of things they like (koalas, medleys, etc.). Feinstein is in fine voice, but he can't compete with a dame. I love stories about the great American songbook, but not necessarily on a Broadway stage, and his anecdotes about himself are less interesting. While his jokes fall flat, Dame Edna gets a laugh with everything she does. The best moments are when she is alone onstage or improvising with the audience--when Feinstein joins her, the arguments feel awkward and forced.

It's a shame this show went directly to Broadway. It might have worked in Feinstein's. I saw Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce there in December, and Feinstein seemed much more at ease in that venue. It's always unfortunate when a show closes early, but they both deserved better. On the bright side, they probably won't lose fans over this and maybe they learned a little something for the next time.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

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