Reviews: Comedy Eddie Izzard Shaftesbury Theatre, London
Monday 16 October 1995
These days Izzard puts as much thought into his wardrobe as his script. In fact, the development of his dress sense exactly mirrors the progress of his comedy. Years ago he would stumble on in whatever he happened to be wearing - slack blue jeans, beige polyester shirt with tail hanging out, floppy, misshapen hair, definitely not underweight - and pretty much just say whatever came into his head; in short he looked a mess and his material was a shambles, albeit killingly funny.
Now he wears stunning orange Jean-Paul Gaultier numbers, black PVC trousers, patent leather boots, a strawberry blond Nolan Sister bob and half a ton of slap. Dresswise, he is rigorously themed up - the giant poster at the end of Shaftesbury Avenue, on which he looks like Julian Clary's chubby cousin, reflects exactly his apparel on the front of the theatre programme, which in turn reflects his on-stage get-up. Similarly his routines are far slicker and tighter than ever before; virtually eradicated are the oohs and the uuhs, the hesitations and deviations, replaced instead by a supreme confidence bordering on arrogance.
Recent dramatic turns in Edward II and Mamet's The Cryptogram have given him a sense of theatricality, so that his stage walk has now become more of a swagger. His performance and material - the familiar surreal animal yarns, and a new obsession with the sounds and meaning of language - are as engagingly dynamic as ever, but the highlight comes when, with a sweep of his arm, a button flies off his Gaultier jacket. So cocksure is he that, with a needle and thread donated from the front row, he spent the next 10 minutes manfully struggling to sew the button back on, while juggling perilously with a running commentary on comic energy. Seamless, you might say.
Inevitably, the button lost the struggle, for Izzard is a man bent on world domination - he who would be emperor of the universe, a shrewd Napoleonic manipulator behind the cheeky facade. If they speak so much as a smattering of English (or French for that matter), he'll conquer them - he's just completed a tour of the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland for God's sake.The Izzard empire is expanding at an ever faster rate. Soon enough you'll see him on the big screen alongside Bob Hoskins and Gerard Depardieu in Christopher Hampton's The Secret Agent. He's got a plot, and he's not about to lose it. And if you ever get to heaven, you may just find that God wears Gaultier.
n Booking: 0171-379 5399 to 16 December (not Mondays)
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams cast in Channel 4 drama about cyber bullying
Downton Abbey: Liam Neeson wants role as stableman in period drama
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Star Wars 7 leaked photo of Adam Driver changes everything
The Walking Dead season 5 synopsis: Spoilers and existential questions revealed
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'