Saturday 21 January 2017

Men impersonating women seem to parody rather than praise females

Published 16/02/2014 | 02:30

Dame Edna Everage
Dame Edna Everage
Marlene Dietrich
Mary Kenny

That superstar drag act Dame Edna Everage is currently working her farewell tour, and if you can get to Manchester or Leeds by March you could behold the queen of female impersonators for the last time.

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The best of luck to Barry Humphries, Dame Edna's alter ego, for devising an entertainment which has proved so lasting and, for many, so hilarious. I knew Barry slightly back in the Soho days of 'Private Eye' when my husband was its business correspondent and Barry wrote a droll cartoon called 'Barry McKenzie', all about an Australian yobbo's adventures among the "Pommy bastards".

But although I like Barry Humphries (recovered alcoholic, father of four and serial husband – Lizzie Spender is his fourth wife), I have no fondness for the Dame Edna Everage act. That's simply because I don't find the female impersonator genre either compelling or funny. I don't dislike female impersonators as people. I just don't respond to female impersonators as an entertainment.

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