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Poor Edina! Second Ab Fab show takes to the streets



What: Absolutely Fabulous — Poor

Where: MY (Millennium) Place

When: Nov. 26-29

Tickets: $18-$23. Saturday matinee/brunch: $49

Absolutely Fabulous: the title says it all. Unapologetic, hedonistic and completely over-the-top.

It’s a perfect name and description for the BBC dark comedy series created by and starring Jennifer Saunders as Edina "Eddy" Monsoon, a twice divorced, middle-aged, preening, partying, high-maintenance PR executive. Accompanied by her boozing bosom buddy Patsy Stone, the devil dressed as Ivana Trump immortalized by Joanna Lumley, the two wreak havoc on Monsoon’s straight-laced daughter Saffy, ditzy assistant Bubble, ex-husbands, and all others unfortunate enough to cross their path. They’re haughty, they’re petulant, they’re perfectly horrible, but they’re also absolutely hilarious.

Currently in its fifth season, Ab Fab, as it’s colloquially known, has a legion of dedicated fans, those non-U.K. residents following by way of video and DVD box sets.

Whistler theatre impresario Michele Bush counts herself among those fans. But, like a true woman of the theatre, the wheels started turning when she noticed that with much of the series set in Eddy’s London flat, the show would transfer nicely to the stage.

Of course the concept also had much to do with the fact that Bush, with her curly brunette locks and deadpan delivery of Monsoon’s favourite word, "darling," also happens to be a dead ringer for Eddy.

She saw the idea through, and the result was last year’s stage adaptation of classic episode ‘Fat,’ wherein Eddy tries furiously to drop pounds in the name of vanity. Ab Fab fans and the curious came out of the woodwork, making Fat a smashing success. The show sold out its two scheduled performances last November, along with three encore shows added in January. With success like that under her belt, there could be little question that Bushwoman Productions, the company Bush formed for Fat, would follow up with another Ab Fab adaptation.

Bring on Poor, Bush’s second-favourite episode, which kicks off a five-show run starting this Wednesday, Nov. 26. Back are most members of Bush’s handpicked cast, including co-star Monique Davidson, once again donning the blond bouffant wig to portray a perfect Patsy.

The plot, renowned among the Ab Fab faithful, picks up when Eddy’s alimony payments are suddenly cut off, forcing her to make changes to her unsustainable extravagant lifestyle. Unable to continue ordering in gourmet meals, she sets out on an inaugural grocery-shopping excursion. With Patsy and several bottles of wine in tow, they take to the streets in Eddy’s convertible, and predictably end up in a world of trouble.

The excursion scenes introduced a challenge for the one-set staging, which Bush has solved with the integration of video. Scenes from the errand run will be presented through footage shot back in October at different locations throughout Whistler Village and at Nesters Market. The video segments are directed by Rebecca Wood Barrett and Lisa Fernandez, who worked with Bush on the short film Mating Habits of the Whistler Mountain Cougar, a runner up at the 72-Hour Filmmaker Showdown at the World Ski and Snowboard Festival last spring.

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