Last Night of the Poms

Last Night of the Poms
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Dame Edna Everage has a strong fan base in England. Just as she loves to show up the cultural quirks of Australia and Australians, she also has a friendly dig at the 'Poms' – the English.

This spoof of an English classical music institution enlists the help of the London Symphony Orchestra and conductor Carl Davis and the New Antipodean Singers. Like The Last Night of the Proms, the concert is held at London's Royal Albert Hall.

This clip shows the self-styled celebrity megastar in theatrical mode with everything we would expect from one of her shows. She tosses 'gladdies' – gladioli flowers – into the crowd and refers to the audience as 'possums'. Gladioli tossing has been a feature of her shows since the 1960s. She is wearing a 'frock' featuring sequins depicting the Australian flag and a collar in the shape of the Sydney Opera House which she refers to as 'the Royal Alfred Hall of Australia'.

Barry Humphries relishes live performances and the chance to interact with (and humiliate) his audience. This excerpt includes a fine example of the Dame improvising in-character when she calls attention to some 'Kings Road', punk types with their dyed hair. Much to their delight and embarrassment, she puts them in their place saying 'I was the first to have a rinse like yours, darling'.

Along with the choir, she leads the audience in singing 'Why Do We Love Australia?'. The multi-camera shoot skilfully covers the diverse crowd as they sing along. The recording includes a balance of sound from the choir, Everage and the audience.

However, unlike The Proms proper, it's less about the musical prowess and all about the comedy, which the Dame mines mercilessly as always.

Notes by Beth Taylor