Eddie Izzard has a good run

[from the Evening Standard]

EDDIE-IZZARDIt was no surprise that the biggest roar Eddie Izzard got last night was when he mentioned his “run” earlier this year. It takes gargantuan modesty to call 43 marathons in 51 days a “run”. And then the tailcoated comedian explained how he did it. He imagined he was being constantly chased by a bear.

The same vivid imagination powers Stripped, a supersized arena version of the theatrical set premiered last year. Izzard’s themes are evolution, religion and ancient history — nothing modest there — and he effortlessly imposes his exquisite Eddie the-eccentric perspective on things: squids use their ink to write diaries, elephant trunks wrap around necks like scarves and chickens play jazz.

Some of his topics have unexpectedly become common currency on the circuit recently. His deconstruction of Noah’s Ark — the lions would have eaten everything before it set sail — is very similar to a current Ricky Gervais routine.

His discussion of the non-existence of an omnicient diety — “if there is a God surely he would have flicked Hitler’s head off” — is positively de rigueur in post-Richard Dawkins circles.

Yet Izzard has such a wonderfully idiosyncratic style, all mimes, grimaces and umming, that he makes even familiar observations about slothful cats and energetic dogs feel fresh. And elsewhere it is exciting to see a mainstream star push intellectual boundaries. It is not every day you get gags about the battle of Thermopylae or hear the suggestion that the Bayeaux tapestry’s creators were the world’s first photojournalists.

While some asides fell flat there were also vintage moments. It is just a shame that they were a little lost in such a cavernous venue. It is fantastic to see stand-up becoming this popular but I am still not entirely convinced that it works in such a big space. Even eyes in plum position were drawn to the giant video screens and those at the back might as well have been watching the recently-released DVD version.

Of course, it is churlish to blame this aspiring politician and film star for being so popular. If he was not so good at comedy he could keep playing smaller theatres. But never mind running marathons, with his devoted fanbase he’d have to do a marathon run in the West End to satisfy everyone.

Written by Momo in: Tour Reviews |

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