Comedy review: Eddie Izzard's Brighton Centre gig is not a Force Majeure - more Partly Political Broadcast

The 51-year-old appears to be canvassing support to be Labour's mayoral candidate rather than performing a stand-up routine

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The Independent Culture

An advocate of the European ideal, with his current tour playing in cities across the continent, Eddie Izzard starts his show by alluding to the recent poll successes of UKIP: "So, while Hitler's rising again, I am off playing Europe."

To be a self-styled ambassador for multilingualism is one thing, but the 51-year-old comedian re-affirms his centre-left credentials a little too much tonight.

Urging his audience to "beware the next election and vote sensibly" Izzard drops in numerous gratuitous swipes against the "right wing" throughout his show, and it feels like he is already canvassing support for his much vaunted run to be Labour's mayoral candidate in 2020.

Fortunately, among the pantomime simplicity of his political outbursts, that would surely grate on even the converted (a group who must be the greater part of tonight's Brighton audience), there is a comedy show.

Against a set that is part-Avengers, part-Austin Powers, Izzard proves that, when he is not grandstanding, he can still be frivolous and fleet of foot - even in Cuban heels.

While Force Majeure is no tour de force, a loose look at the folly of worshipping gods in the first hour allows for some playful riffs about sacrificing virgins and also an unfortunate man called Steve for the sake of spoons.

In the mix is a rather stock look at the formulaic nature of musicals (stemming from a visit by Izzard to see Jesus Christ Superstar), but it proves a pleasant diversion despite its familiarity. "They are all about tits, eyes and teeth - even if they are blokes" says Izzard before attempting a musical version of Die Hard.

Similarly in the second half it is another hackneyed topic that pleases - Olympic dressage. Izzard's take on it is sprightly in its surrealism, but it comes amidst what is a frankly a mess of half-finished stream of consciousness sequences that might amuse drunk friends at a Hollywood party but few others.

In the morass created by a routine which tries to link Izzard's transvestism to his hankering to join the SAS and to him fancying a French girl on an exchange visit, and by another about the supposed omniscience of pipe smokers, there are some occasional flashes of tangible inspiration.

Likening the patterns on French squat toilets to the imprints made by astronaut's boots is one example, but precious little else in makes an impression in the second hour. In electoral terms Izzard's partly political broadcast sees him scrape by to keep his deposit.