Eddie Izzard at the Nottingham Arena, review

[from the times.co.uk]

Having devoted the best part of the autumn to undertaking a 1,100 mile jog around the UK – some 43 runs in 51 days – Eddie Izzard would be forgiven for putting his feet up and congratulating himself on his fund-raising good deeds for Sport Relief. But, no, marathon man is already up and about, rambling for Britain in a touring version of Stripped, the stand-up show he premiered last winter in the West End. You might expect to see a few pained hobbles. Yet here he is, bouncing about in a discreetly outlandish combination of jeans, stripey shirt and ringmaster’s black tail-jacket – the puppyish picture of zing and zest.

Erring on the side of modesty, Izzard only briefly alludes to his ordeal. “I did this run recently which was just to lose weight. It was a bit insane,” he concedes, in that drawly, muttery, posh-urchin way of his, before suggesting that we could all do it because our ancestors were forever running back and forth, hunting and gathering, and being chased by bears.

I’m paraphrasing here, of course. Once Izzard, 47, is in full flow, you can only dash after his quicksilver train of imagination, making incomplete notes. The overarching conceit of the evening, underpinned by much mock-erudition, is that there’s no plan in the universe.

We’re given a wilfully idiosyncratic beginner’s guide to creation, evolution, the emergence of civilisation and so on, all of it pointing to one conclusion, which is that we’re on our own, and we just have to make the best of it.

If you can quarrel with Izzard’s underlying faith in human nature to succeed where religion fails (“Don’t believe in God, believe in us”), there’s little disputing that his surrealistic, scattershot musings betray the divinity of comic genius.

Among myriad highlights, there’s his notion (apropos the dullness of farming) of wedging a trumpet on a chicken’s face – to create a “jazz chicken”, the enactment of a Roman soldier deliberately and pretend-delightedly impaling himself on the spear of an advancing Greek phalanx, and his evocation of a giraffe, signalling, by means of charades, the approach of a tiger.

Yes, seeing him in a stadium, his every move video-relayed, can be like watching a giant TV, but the warmth, lust for life and sheer swaggering pizzazz of this eternally boyish jester transcend the sterility of the occasion.

After 25 years of perfecting his burbling personality, Eddie has become entertainment incarnate.

Written by Momo in: Tour Reviews |

1 Comment »

  • Lizard

    Great review! Got me even more excited about seeing his Dallas gig in January. WOOO!

    Comment | October 26, 2009

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