Celebrated Australian performer Barry Humphries AO, CBE will take Australian audiences on a revelatory trip through his colourful life and theatrical career when he tours Australia this May and June with Barry Humphries: The Man Behind the Mask.
In an intimate, confessional evening – seasoned with highly personal, sometimes startling, and occasionally outrageous stories – Australia’s best loved entertainer will be peeling off his mask to introduce the man behind the clown.
For more than 60 years, Humphries has held a mirror to Australia and Australians, revealing their virtues, their foibles, their triumphs and their failings through a gallery of adored characters, including Dame Edna Everage, Sir Les Patterson and Sandy Stone.
Now he will spin the mirror around, exposing his own highs and lows, the good times and the not so good. Themes include Humphries’ Australian childhood, family relationships, attitudes, career and his experiences as one of the world’s most acclaimed entertainers.
“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,” says Humphries. “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, comic, solo 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. They may intrude. I might be interrupted,” he hints. “I might even be upstaged!”
But while Humphries has retired from “relentlessly touring”, he can’t wait to introduce Australians to this new phase in his creative life. “I’m rather proud of what I’ve done in my career. It’s constantly surprising, it’s very stimulating and it’s wonderful to look back on, and to look forward to. It’s still going strong, and with a vengeance.”
Barry Humphries: The Man Behind the Mask commences this Saturday 5 May in Newcastle, before heading to Brisbane (10 May), the Gold Coast (12 & 13 May), Canberra (16 May), Sydney (18 May), Melbourne (24-26 May), Adelaide (31 May) and Geelong (2 June). For more information, visit: www.tegdainty.com for details.
Image: Barry Humphries – photo by Simon Schluter