Vulgar gossips whisper that Dame Edna Everage is actually a macho septuagenarian Aussie intellectual who married Sir Stephen Spender's daughter. But you won't believe it if you see her glamour-puss turn in her every-inch-a-yenta show Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance. We caught up with her by cell phone:
Dame Edna: Back With a Vengeance Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., 206-628-0888, www.themoore.com. $33.50–$63.50. Various times Wed., March 22–Sun., March 26.
Seattle Weekly:Hello. May I call you "Dame Everage"?
Edna: No! If you were talking to Judi Dench you would call her Dame Judi, not Dame Dench. What's so lovely about Americans is they almost always get it wrong. Your fallibility is your sweetest characteristic.
I hear you do marriage counseling onstage. Are you qualified to do that?
When Princess Diana was alive, I helped them. Now I can say it. I counseled them. I introduced Camilla to Charles. I helped the Clintons at a time of cosmic embarrassment for them both. I've had private interviews with poor Laura [Bush], who has her own cross to bear.
Do you consult with Seattle's couples researcher Pepper Schwartz?
Perhaps I could help him.
I mean, her. I might be able to help. I'm a bit of a life coach for the American nation. I called my friend Joan Rivers, because I always believe in seeking advice from the elderly, and she said, "Edna, come to the States!" I booked a theater for two weeks in San Francisco, transferred it to Broadway, and won a Tony. I've now done a second show, which was nominated for a Tony, but poor old Billy Crystal, they felt he needed it more than I did.
The Moore Theatre is where the unknown Bette Midler starred in the world premiere of Tommy. Do you feel a rivalry with Bette?
I adore little Bette, but she doesn't do what I do. But I do feel that she has that wonderful star quality, and her aura is still in the theater.
Speaking of auras, haven't you dabbled in psychic phenomena lately?
Yes, I do psychic readings on the stage. I look at women in the audience. I look at their shoes, and I can tell them a lot about themselves. About two weeks ago in Washington, D.C., I saw great wealth in a woman's shoe, and she was pretty well down on her uppers (to use a sort of sort of shoe metaphor), and you know, she came into a fortune a week later. She wants to share it with me.
Edna, you're a good investment.
A ticket to see me is a good investment because I'm the only show in the world that gives a money-back guarantee if there's not a major laugh every minute. Not a titter, not a smile, not a grin, not a rictus, but a major laugh. Money back. And yet, I don't want to be a comedian. Or a religion. I've been approached by rather misguided prigs and millionaires to become a religion. Of course, I've shunned them. I would regard that as blasphemous. On the other hand, I do bring a lot of hope to people. People worship me, they do. But they wanted to establish a Church of Edna, can you imagine? There is a mad side to your country, you know.
Especially Seattle, with all our serial killers.
We have a town in Australia called Adelaide where we have lots of murderers, too. But I had a fabulous time the last time I was in Seattle, at the same theater. I learnt with a certain relief that it's been refurbished a little. The Moore, you know, it's been fixed up, and it's not rats sitting in the seat next to you. Apparently they've got rid of all that.
I hear Eddie Vedder has quit crawling like a spider on the walls like he did back when. They've deloused it of Vedders!
Oh darling, you're as wicked as I am! Lots of love! Thanks, bye!