Dame Edna packs up specs and gladis
Australian housewife-superstar Dame Edna Everage has decided to retire after a stage career spanning 57 years.
Barry Humphries, the actor and satirist who created the Tony Award-winning character know for her purple hair, oversized rhinestone glasses and gladiolis, is launching his two-month farewell tour, Eat Pray Laugh!, in Canberra on June 22.
He then wants to take the show to the UK and New York over the next two years, his publicist, Kerry O'Brien said.
At 78, Humphries said the time has come to retire all his various alter egos from the stage, the most famous of whom is Dame Edna.
"She's a little weary of touring and strange hotels," Barry told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio in Canberra, explaining his most enduring character's decision to retire.
Another of his characters, drunken Australian cultural attache Sir Les Patterson, will join Dame Edna on the farewell tour.
Dame Edna's career began as the more dour Mrs Edna Everage when she first stepped on to the stage of a Melbourne University review in 1955 in Barry's hometown of Melbourne.
She was "Auntie Edna" in the 1974 Australian comedy movie Barry McKenzie Holds His Own, in which she was made a Dame as part of the plot during a cameo appearance by the then-Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam.
Dame Edna was a staple of television and stage in Britain and Australia before Humphries won a Tony Award in 2000 for his Broadway show Dame Edna, The Royal Tour. Its sequel, Dame Edna, Back With A Vengeance, was also nominated for a Tony, the leading US theatre award, in 2004.
The new show's producer, Dainty Group, described it in a tongue-in-cheek statement as an all-singing, all-dancing spectacular in which Dame Edna promises to empower audiences as she meditates on the big issues of gender, ethnicity and climate change.