Barry Humphries is frankly a comic genius and last night's sold out show at the Edge's Civic Theatre in Auckland reinforces his solid international reputation as an incredibly smart and cutting observer of current affairs.
The shows opens with Sir Les Patterson who, thankfully, was suffering from chronic diarrhoea, but managed to battle his way through his own pretend television cooking show in a tacky Australian backyard setting poking fun at the bombardment of unoriginal food shows on both sides of the Tasman.
His politically incorrect comments were widely funny especially when he attempts to create multi-cultural rissoles pointing out various ingredients like throwing in "msg for the Chinese". Les' inability to speak without spitting near the front row never gets old and the more he spat the funnier it seemed.
Barry Humphries then introduced the audience to Sandy Stone, the ghost of Glen Iris, who told the all too realistic story of life in an aged care facility. Humphries absolutely nailed the pretentiousness of made-up human resource industry words like health care assistant technicians, who do anything but their actual job given the over-puffed health and safety regulations.
The true super star of the show was, of course, Dame Edna Everage where Humphries showed off his superior improvisation ability - poking fun at senior members of the audience describing one woman's outfit as "something you'd only wear while cleaning the dog". She also had a go at the top back row for being "financially vulnerable" paying the cheapest seats in the house.
The Dame did manage kindness for a fleeting moment praising Sir Peter Jackson for "single-handedly saving the New Zealand economy" receiving huge cheers from the audience. Jackson must have been quietly sniggering given he was among the crowd.
At a young 78, Barry Humphries' brilliant humour showed no signs of slowing even if it was the so-called farewell tour. I only hope, there's another one next year. But just in case this really is the last time Dame Edna Everage throws a gladioli party - you should go see her.
But be warned: As one audience member said after the show, be prepared to be completely exhausted from laughing consistently for two hours.
Eat, Pray, Laugh is on at The Civic Theatre, Auckland, between August 11-18.