When I was on my way to see Dame Edna’s Annual Family (and Down Under Members) Barbecue, I thought I knew what to expect. I had never seen a Dame Edna show before, but I know who Dame Edna is, and knew that some over the top comedy would be involved. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and I loved every minute of it.
For those who may be unfamiliar with Chapel Street Players and their history of Dame Edna, Scott Mason the current president of CSP is an award winning (multi-award winning. Sunburst Hall of Fame!) Dame Edna impersonator, so Dame Edna has made a few appearances at Chapel Street. Anyone who is designated by THE Dame Edna to be her honorary understudy is pretty impressive.
The last show in Chapel Street Players’ season is always the Renee G. O’Leary Annual FUNdrasier, and this is Renee’s 51st appearance in the FUNdraiser. Emphasis is obviously on the “fun,” especially with Dame Edna’s Annual Family (and Down Under Members) Barbecue. Knowing that Scott Mason is the Dame Edna Impersonator is a key joke in this production, since Scott Mason appears as a character, played by Frank Newton. The basic premise of this show is that Dame Edna has gotten her dates mixed up, and the day of her family barbeque is also the day she scheduled her new reality TV show to begin filming. She was also supposed to meet the winner of the Dame Edna look-a-like contest, who—you guessed it—is Scott Mason, dressed as Dame Edna. You would think that it could get confusing, but it doesn’t. It’s hysterical. One Dame Edna just isn’t enough for the Chapel Street Players.
Is this show going to win a Pulitzer Prize? No, nor should you expect it to. It’s supposed to be ridiculous and a lot of fun, and that is something that Scott Mason and the rest of the cast deliver. There are quite a few inside jokes for long time subscribers and members of the Chapel Street Players, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeing it. My husband, who has only seen one other production at CSP, accompanied me to the show, and he thoroughly enjoyed himself, despite not understanding a few jokes.
The real stand-out performers, aside from Scott Mason as Dame Edna and Frank Newton as Scott Mason, are Walt Osborne as Agnes Dubois, Susan Moak as the redneck mother of Bruce Everage’s fiancée, Penny, Renee O’Leary as Daphne, and Che-Yu Peter Kuo as One Lung Ho. With as few lines as he has, Kuo absolutely steals the show. I have to applaud the actors for trying to do Australian accents, which is one of the hardest accents to do.
Dame Edna’s Annual Family (and Down Under Members) Barbecue runs Thursday, June 19 through Saturday, June 21. For tickets, call 302-368-2248 or visit http://www.chapelstreetplayers.org.
Posted at 10:44am on June 16, 2014 by Gina Poletti