Cheeky Transvestite Keeps Loyal Following
SJ Mercury News| 09.11.03

Gender may be a bit beside the point when it comes to Eddie Izzard.

As the British comic explains in his new witty solo rant, ``Sexie,'' sometimes he's got breasts. Sometimes he doesn't. Right now, he's on the curvaceous side (``If you bought 'em, flaunt 'em''). In a spiky blond hairdo, tight vinyl pants and artfully applied high-impact makeup, Izzard can come across as Judy Garland with a square jaw.

What really matters is that on the inside, Izzard is the same verbal trickster he ever was. He's a cheeky bloke who likes cross-dress and ``talk crap'' on stage when he's not doing movies (``Cat's Meow,'' ``Shadow of a Vampire'') and plays (``A Day in the Death of Joe Egg''). Verbal flimflam and to-die-for glam are what this flip hipster does best.

The self-described action transvestite certainly has a devout following, many of whom showed up at Tuesday's opening in high heels and feather boas, but this solo seems like a work-in-progress when compared with the dazzling verbal sleight-of-hand that was ``Dress to Kill,'' for which he won an Emmy. In fact, Izzard even made a joke out of the bits that weren't working in ``Sexie,'' which is a clever ploy as far as it goes.

Still, if the funnyman doesn't seem quite as inspired in his stream of consciousness shtick as he once did, he's still a charmer with a genius for delivery. None of his gags sound even remotely amusing on paper but there are very entertaining riffs about Cro-Magnon man as a French chef, why firemen slide down poles and how to distract British bank managers by touching your chest. While this show rarely edges into the screamingly funny zone (unlike some of his earlier works), Izzard remains a master at shaggy-dog story mayhem


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