Enmore Theatre, May 2
Reveiwed by Bernard Zuel | Sydney Morning Herald | thanks Francesca!
(photo courtesy of Occy)

Imagine, as Eddie Izzard does, if the Spanish Inquisition had been, well,
nicer.If it had been, say, the Spanish Casual Conversation with more
delicately phrased questions and less fuss about those nasty torture bits.
Fewer bones broken, less blood spilt and J.P.II (Pope Johnny, as Izzard
calls him) would have had less to apologise for earlier this year when he
went on an apology spree.

Of course, Izzard mentions casually, there wasn't exactly an apology about
the silence of Pope Johnny's wartime predecessor, Pius XII, during the
holocaust, with the silence - mistakenly or otherwise - seen as tacit
acceptance of the slaughter of the jews, gypsies, communists and
homosexuals. Ouch. And typically Izzard.

Not typically in its politics, necessarily (though his tirade about
Margaret Thatcher : "I hate Mrs Thatcher because she's a cunt. I apologise
for using that word....Thatcher", was heartfelt), but in its stealth.
Seemingly at random. with connections that don't appear at first (or
sometimes, for that matter, later), his stories flit in and out, disarmingly
and usually without punchlines, but loaded with more laughs than your
average comedy festival.

He can digress, boy can he digress, and he can disappear up alleys where
even he can't explain what he's doing there. But just when you think he's
hit a wall, he will turn slightly away from the audience, peek over his
shoulder with a smile playing at the corner of his dark-coloured lips and
let drop something like the possibility of a God called Twang. "He wouldn't
be omnipotent , but he would be onomatopoeic".

Committed to improvising, Izzard - a solidly built man in a leather skirt,
high boots and just the right amount of foundation - is liable to get into
cul-de-sacs, and an Australian audience's traditional reticence when it
comes to joining in can exacerbate this. But at most it's a pause. Pretty
quickly. you learn the trick is to go with him, to ride along on the riff
about the habits of dinosaurs to get to the end where he explains that on
the eighth day, God smoked all the marijuana He had created, on the ninth
day He smoked all the opium He had created, on the tenth day He did
bugger-all - too fagged out - and then on the 11th He created monsters like
those He'd seen the nights before when He was in His cups.
Sometimes absurd, occasionally surreal, but more often than not just
weirdly, wonderfully funny, Eddie Izzard makes 2 an half hours (with
interval) fly by.