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Archikulture Digest

by Carl F Gauze

Dame Edna

Dame Edna
Performed by Michael Walters
The Abbey, Orlando FL

What a cavernous room! The Abbey looks like it could hold 200; tonight only about 20 fans showed up and we scattered ourselves over the available space like oxygen molecules in a near vacuum. The house manager came out and got everyone to move up front; both Dame Edna and comedy in general work best with a compact crowd.

Dame Edna receives applause from an adoring crowd

Dame Edna is a very Australian lady, concerned with appearance and propriety and who dresses like a gift wrapped Elaine Stritch. The character originated with comedian Barry Humphries, and Mr. Walters has the license (or at least the permission) to perform the role in North America. I suspect if the two came together in the same room; the earth would be destroyed in a flash of pure anti-fashion. His show mixes singing and audience engagement with slightly risqué jokes. One gag in involved Dame Edna’s skills at pedomancy, that’s fortune telling with shoes, another talked about adopting a child “from that African country where Madonna shops.” Notionally, Dame Edna is the confidant of the Royal Family, her photo shopping skills could get her into almost any high end party. The real surprise of this evening is the ending; Mr. Walters in his other life is an astonishing singer and tonight as the show winds down he launches into a Carol Channing rendition of “Hello Dolly”. Then after a few bars he drops down a register and does the Louis Armstrong parts, and pretty soon he’s singing a duet with himself. Then he launches into the deepest basso “Old Man River” I’ve ever heard. This is ovation territory, folks, and I doubt the “other” Dame Edna could hit those lows. You missed a winner if you weren’t in those front seats.

More information on Dame Edna and Michael Walters may be found at


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