Barry Humphries takes off the mask

BARRY Humphries, writer, actor, comic and creator of Dame Edna Everage and the legendary Australian cultural attache Sir Les Paterson, is on a national tour, bringing The Man Behind the Mask to Bournemouth Pavilion on Wednesday 25th and Yeovil’s Octagon Theatre on Saturday 28th May.

Australia’s best-loved and funniest entertainer will take audiences on a revelatory trip through his colourful life and theatrical career. In an intimate, confessional evening, packed with highly personal, sometimes startling,and occasionally outrageous stories, Barry Humphries will peel off his mask to introduce the man behind the clown.

For more than 60 years, through his multiple personas, he has held a mirror to Australia and Australians, revealing their virtues, their foibles, their triumphs and their failings. Now he will spin the mirror around, exposing his own highs and lows, the good times and the not so good.

He says: “This is a show in which I am the principal character; it’s not Les, it’s not Edna, it’s not Sandy Stone. It is really about this character called ‘me’. I’m not in disguise. It is the story of my generation, it is a story of a life spent in the theatre and a life spent in comedy, and it will show what it is like to be a clown. In a way, this is perhaps the bravest thing I’ve ever done, and I hope the most entertaining. I think people might be agreeably shocked and they certainly will learn much they didn’t know.”

Audiences can expect a virtuoso performance filled with laughter, drama and surprise. There will be an opportunity to ask questions and the magic of technology may even allow appearances – or interruptions – by unexpected guests.

“Audio-visual technology has made dramatic strides in my life and it’s now possible for me to be on stage with one of my own characters,” he hints. “I might even be upstaged!”

As well as his live and television shows, Barry Humphries has made many films, including Bedazzled (1967), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), The Hobbit (2012) and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016).