Role of a lifetime 

Eddy character suits Michele Bush to a T

By Kara-Leah Grant

What: Absolutely Fabulous ‘Fat’

Who: Bushwoman Productions

Where: MY Place

When: Nov. 16 & 17

Every performer longs for the role of a lifetime, the one that was designed just for them, the one that will ensure their name goes down in history. Anthony Hopkins had Hannibal. Elizabeth Taylor had Cleopatra. Clint Eastwood had Dirty Harry. And now local performer Michelle Bush has Edina Monsoon — better known as Eddy from Absolutely Fabulous.

As the promotional photos prove, Michele Bush as Eddy is a dead ringer for Jennifer Saunders as Eddy.

"When my friend Leslie Anthony, who plays Georgie in the play, first saw the series, he looked at it and said ‘Could you be any more perfect? You’re fat, you’re crazy and you look just like her’," said Bush. "I’ve even grown out my hair for the show. This is a very serious role."

Seriously funny perhaps. Bush has handpicked a cast from old Whistler Players alumni and other performers she has worked with over the years in Whistler. She says the amount of support they have received from the community has been outstanding and everybody she has spoken to is very excited about the play.

"The reaction has been huge, every time I run into someone they say they have a ticket already, which is quite unheard of in Whistler. Advance sales are great," said Bush.

Absolutely Fabulous, written by Jennifer Saunders, is about Eddy, a fortyish PR woman with a straight-laced daughter and a champagne swigging, man-chasing best friend. The show came out of a skit from the French and Saunders show and four acclaimed series have since been made.

"A friend gave me some scripts just for fun a couple of years ago. When I went through them a lot of them aren’t really stageable because they take place all over London," said Bush. "But there are two that were. One of my favourites is the one that we are doing, called Fat. It’s my absolute favourite because most women will understand it. Eddy has gained a bit of weight and the opening scene is of her struggling to get into her clothes. It turns out an old model friend from the ’60s is coming to visit so Eddy decides to lose some weight as fast as she can."

Each episode only ran for half an hour, so the cast has fattened up the script with their own lines and added more Absolutely Fabulous lines from other episodes.

"It’s been fun working with this group because we have worked together for 15 years," said Bush. "We’re friends and know what is expected in rehearsal. We were off script pretty quickly and the rehearsals are pretty fun – wine is required to keep us in character."

Costumes were borrowed largely from the Re-use It Centre and the set design was done by Sally Calladine.

"We had an idea of how to do the sets in our heads, but then in came Sally with these beautiful sketches and pictures and graphs. She had everything measured down to the square foot," said Bush. "She is a BBC set designer and she is amazing, we’re not worthy."

Bush says if demand for the tickets is high enough, they may add an extra show, and she is exploring the possibility of re-staging the show during Altitude.

"It’s huge in that community," said Bush. "I’d love to create a show, not necessarily Ab Fab, but something we could keep running all winter, that would be fun."

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