THE UNSTOPPABLE IZZ
(Thanks Mimi and Louise)
The "Action Transvestite" man machine that is Eddie Izzard is having a few problems tonight. He feels like he's got too much to say. In a superhuman feat of workaholism, the best dressed stand-up comedian ever to appear at the Birmingham Hippodrome has gone straight from his acclaimed, career defining run as Lenny Bruce in the West End play LENNY, into a 30-date tour raking in Britain, Ireland and now familiar sojourn to Paris, where he will perform entirely in French. As a result, he says, "I've had all this s--- waiting to burst out of my head" while spending the last 12 weeks repeating words written by other people. You'd never know, though. Resplendant in knee high black boots, black leather skirt and black three-quarter length jacket, he looks and sounds like he's fresh from an extended holiday in the New York branch of Prada. The ghost of Izzard's three-month tenure in LENNY have left our man with a slight transatlantic twang, although it does no harm to his Brum-tastic rendition of Hamlet as a homeboy: "Ter bay or nut ter bay". Offended? the packed Hippodrome is overjoyed. He wonders aloud how the venue got it's name and , upon discovering from an erudite audience member that it derives from the Greek for 'horse', spends the rest of the show beating up imaginary enemies hissing "Greek, not Latin!".
Watching and listening to Izzard's endless, effortless comedic burble, involving sentences with sub-clauses dashes and tangents of Proustian length, on subjects ranging from why squirrels never eat their nuts casually to Hitler's failure to crack Russia in WW2 ("Too f---ing cold, too f---ing cold!), is a joy in itself. he mimes the actions of the cash-strapped Brits in their fight against the Nazis using ice-cream vans instead of tanks and pelting Mr Whippy cones across the Channel, and those laid back Italians policemen, eyeing up the ladies while banks are being robbed behind them - "Hey, keep the noise down!...Ciao, ciao!" - and discusses why "no one ever has an ounce of sympathy" for people who, like Rod Hull, die in amusing ways.
In many ways Eddie Izzard is the man of the Millennium, rushing from one dream project to another, never missing an opportunity to star in a West End play or a Hollywood film, or to meet the challenge of performing live in a foreign language. He did LENNY because he knew it was too good to turn down, but kept enough energy back to give 100 percent tonight. Mere mortals wouldn't stand the pace, but then this is the glorious, relentless, unstoppable Eddie Izzard.