www.talkingbroadway.com | Jonathan Frank | June 3, 2000
Calling Eddie Izzard a stand-up comic is like stating that Fellini's 8 1/2 is a chick flick or Sweeney Todd is about a shave and a haircut. Eddie Izzard, who started out as a street performer in Covent Garden, is, simply put, one of the best live comic performers I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. His stream-of-consciousness style of humor certainly recalls other comics. Combine the rapid-fire tangents of Robin Williams, the multiple character satire of Tracy Ullman, the political insights of early George Carlin, with the fashion sense of Dr. Frankenfurter, and you begin to get a picture of Eddie Izzard.
Recently, Eddie been enjoying a career on the London stage. He played Lenny Bruce in a production of Lenny, which he hopes to bring to New York in the near future. He has also appeared on stage in The Cryptogram, 900 Oneonta and Edward II, and on film in Velvet Goldmine (appearing as one of the few characters not in glam drag, surprisingly enough), The Avengers and Mystery Men. His concerts have been recorded on video, with Dress to Kill filmed for HBO.
He is currently on tour with his newest show, Circle, the title of which I have to say makes no sense at all. This is not an evening that has any pattern or progression. No cycle takes place, no themes, and definitely no arc. Instead, we were treated to two hours and fifteen minutes of observations on everything from why Washington State got its name (nobody in the audience was able to explain to any satisfaction), to the Spanish Inquisition, to why Margaret Thatcher and Celine Dion need to be treated to an old-fashioned Salem witch dunking. This is definitely a man who does not insult your intelligence. Without ever crossing the line of intellectual snobbery, Eddie Izzard manages to toss in everything from current political events to quantum physics, and make it all come across like a bar room conversation.
And that is Eddie Izzard's greatest strength, and the biggest joy of watching him perform. Leaving the show, I felt like I had spent an evening chatting with a bloke (albeit one in 3" stiletto heels and fabulous makeup) after knocking a few back. Eddie is touring all over the world with Circle, and his schedule can be found at www.izzard.com. He is at A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle through Sunday, June 4th, after which he will be in San Francisco. If he comes to your area, make a bee-line to the ticket office, because this is a performer you don't want to miss.