Dress to Kill (1998)

Dress To Kill is the title of a performance by Eddie Izzard, and is a continuation of the British comedian's surrealist, ideas-based comedy. The video and DVD were recorded during a performance in San Francisco, California, in the United States. However, the tour was a global one. During this tour Izzard also wrote the book "Dress to Kill" with David Quantick (photographs by Steve Double), which was published by Virgin Books in hardback in 1998 and in paperback in 2000.

Izzard's humour includes observations on the American concept of history, beginning with his throwaway line "I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from" and continuing through diversions about the belief that all Europeans live in castles ("we just long for a bungalow or something") and the attitude of Americans toward historical landmarks. Additionally, Izzard takes time to explain his background as an executive transvestite and how it impacted on his desire to join the military. This is explained through a proposal for the Army's "first battalion transvestite brigade...with fantastic makeup and a fantastic gun."

The centerpiece of the performance is a retelling of British history from Stonehenge through to the Reformation. This is done with Izzard adopting a very Italian accent (and miming riding on a Vespa) to signify the Pope talking to Henry VIII ("who is Sean Connery for this film") and explaining that he can't marry as many wives as he wants to. This is set against the backdrop of Martin Luther pinning his 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg Cathedral, a paper that reads "Einen Minuten bitte. Ich habe einen kleinen Problemo avec diese Religione." "He was from everywhere," explains Izzard to great cheers from the audience. Similar to his use of Sean Connery as the voice of Henry VIII, he uses the voice of James Mason as the voice of God.

Izzard, a self-proclaimed film buff, also describes the plot of The Great Escape in somewhat manic fashion. He is particularly fond of Steve McQueen's role in the film, and goes to great lengths to explain how inaccurate his escape through Central Europe actually is.

Diversions are also made in relation to the Heimlich maneuver and the American Dream, while the performance ends with Izzard re-telling the story of how he didn't lose his virginity. An encore is then performed, featuring Izzard delivering the plot of the film Speed in French and explaining how his schoolboy French serves him in France itself.

One of Izzard's most well-known routines was performed during Dress To Kill: a satirical depiction of Church of England fundamentalism, wherein Izzard explains how Church of England fundamentalism would be impossible because people would be shouting out "You must have tea and cake with the vicar or you DIE!" and "CAKE OR DEATH?!" The latter phrase has become so well-known that it is now the name of an Eddie Izzard fansite. (Hey, that's me!)

The CD version differs from the DVD version because it was recorded on a different night. There are numerous subtle difference between the CD and DVD material, the most notable being Eddie getting heckled by an impatient fan during The Great Escape routine on the CD, urging him to "move on" with the story - provoking an equally hilarious response from Izzard. --Wikipedia





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