Tag Archives: Opera House

A DAME GOOD EVENING

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When you’re thinking about things to do – often going to gigs or the theatre – you come across things which make you think ‘shall we?’.  These are a long way from the ‘must get up at 8am on a Saturday morning and have three laptops at the ready for the on-sale’ moments and the Barry Humphries Farwell Tour was one of these ‘take it or leave it’ things.  Given that we were getting tickets for several other things, we decided to go for it – after all , we’ve never seen Dame Edna  and she never fails to amuse – and she didn’t.

A night at the theatre is always slightly marred when it involves going to the now very run-down Manchester Opera House and this one wasn’t any different – queues to get into the building, queues to walk down a corridor, queues for the loos and no sign of a queue, but just an unruly and uncomfortable scrum, at the tiny bar.  Anyway, settling in for the first half Les Patterson was funny enough – some complete belly laugh moments like his reference to new character Gerard Patterson (a very new Humphries creation and the ‘theatrical’ brother of Les) as ‘a v@gina-decliner’ – but then things took a turn.  As part of his farewell tour Humphries unearthed one of his earliest characters, Sandy Stone – a hauntingly-pale ghostly figure who has had a life of family tragedy.  Whilst this foray into dark humour was a tangent to the ‘in your face’ (literally if you were in the front row) style of Les, it put an enormous dampner on the mood.  A bad call Mr Humphries….but at least we’d pre-ordered a whole bottle of interval wine for the two of us, and OMG did we need it!

It’s fair to say that Dame Edna is timeless and Humphries freely admitted trotting out old material and tricks, but it worked as it all seemed so fresh.  This is clearly the character where he comes into his own and she hasn’t lost any of the wittiness and edge that has made her a household name across generations (Humphries first donned the purple wig and specs in 1955!).  Once the laughter got going pre-interval memories faded (although the ¾ pint of wine each helped too) and it was time for the tried and tested finale – Gladi-waving!  Following this, a rather touching final word from the man himself, with some lovely reference to his family connections to Manchester, and we were done.

All in all a mixed bag….’Should we have?’….probably, but once was enough and will definitely give the next Farewell Tour a miss!

Brandy.

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PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT

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Brandy & Coke love the theatre, so when Priscilla hit the road to tour around the UK (particularly with Jason Donovan back in the role of Tik/Mitzi) a Friday night out was planned.

Setting aside the hellish experience of visiting Manchester’s crumbling Opera House – where we are fairly certain that the wine is bottled from the puddles of water to be found on the floor in the decay-ridden toilets – the show is impressive.   The costume changes are numerous and every one more extravagant than the last; there are some outstanding performances and, all in all, it’s a good tribute to the iconic film that Brandy & Coke have sung-along to on the sofa so many times.

Jason Donovan got the biggest cheers from the crowd and was a good sport when it came to the endless run of Kylie-gags that were added ‘especially for…’ him!  From time to time there were some dodgy Australian accents going on which made Brandy & Coke think that Ayr’s Rock was somewhere in upstate New York, but the classic Bernadette lines like ‘that’s the only bang you’re ever gonna get, sweetheart’, ‘Oh Felicia, where f**k are we?’ and ‘Just what we need  – a c*ck in a frock on a rock!’ saved the day.

Well worth seeing , though don’t expect the classic 70s track ‘Never been to me’ as it didn’t make it into the musical – shame.

Brandy.

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