Lacking an intimate touch
Dec 12 2003| By Gordon Barr, The Evening Chronicle | thanks Spoot
 

Flies and the Queen - what DO they do? It's a question I've been asking myself for many a year, and it's a question Eddie Izzard asked his North East fans last night.

Funny, whenever I've asked anyone the said question I've just been looked at strangely. When Izzard asks it, the response is roars of laughter and applause from a 10,000-strong crowd.

Such is the appeal of this one-man-talking dynamo. You could probably count on one hand the number of comedians who could sell out the Telewest Arena. Eddie Izzard is one of them.

I had reservations about him playing such a vast venue, though. Reservations to some extent realised.

He arrived on stage resplendent in black leather mini skirt, red basque-type top, black fishnet stockings and high-heeled boots.

Immediately he started his ramblings about being a transvestite. But something was different this time. This time he had breasts! And did he make the most of them.

The breasts kept coming into play throughout the performance, as is Izzard's style. Just when you think he has dropped a subject matter, up it pops again in the unlikeliest circumstance.

Guide dogs, mobile phones, growing up in Yemen, greyhounds, the Royals, cats, superheroes, firefighters - just a few of the subjects on Izzard's hit list.

And those darn flies! Some of the biggest laughs of the night resulted from his fly observations.

Izzard seemed more camp than normal, with a touch of the Graham Nortons.

And he received a thunderous ovation as he closed the show, enticing him back for a short encore.

"This feels so intimate, like us having a cup of coffee," he told the audience on his return, with more than a hint of irony. I feel that very intimacy, that Izzard has built up with his audiences over the years is lost in the vastness of an arena.

I've seen myself crying with laughter at his past shows. Last night, despite Izzard being on form, I felt he was too far from the audience to keep up momentum.

You found yourself looking at the huge video screen of him, instead of the man himself, and at times that screen was slightly out of synch with the live Izzard.

There were no special effects, just pounding music and flashing lights at the start of both halves.

With tickets at 25 a head, and with 10,000 sold, it was a nice earner for the Izzard team. But at the cost of that extra special, intimate magic we die-hard fans expect.