Arts and Entertainment

"Bo Burnham: What", Pleasance Grand, Edinburgh Fringe, August

LETTER: West End is alive and well

THE West End theatre is always having a thin time of it ("A theatrical misrepresentation", 22 October). I have just been reading some reviews of the 1920s and 1930s. Practically every year is described as thin. I have no doubt critics sitting watching Euripides's Medea at Epidauros in 431BC were complaining that it was a thin decade and things were better in Aeschylus's day.

Reviews: Comedy Eddie Izzard Shaftesbury Theatre, London

Eddie Izzard has now acquired the status of comedy untouchable. What other dispenser of stand-up, a low-brow art form if ever there was one, sends the big-hitter critics from the heavies scurrying for their pens. I don't recall Jack Tinker ever clamouring to review Billy Connolly. But then what other comedian can fill a West End theatre for months on end?

Eddie Izzard: man or turtle?

COMEDY

feelgood factor: Eddie Izzard

"I'm into yoga, though I've only done two sessions - I'm in the middle of touring.

Spare us the nudity and the collapsing set...

Jessica Lange was once interviewed about the film version of Beth Henle y's Crimes of the Heart. Asked if there should have been someone around to stop the movie hurtling over the top, she replied, "You mean the taste patrol?" Thi s autumn the patrol will be out in force as audiences pour in through the doors of theatres across the l and. The new season will bring six versions of Macbeth, two Sondheims, and work by Wole Soyinka, Clifford Odets and Dennis Potter. In among the bold, the brig ht and the brill iant, however, there will be the inevitable, stale, second-hand stuff in which dim or despairing directors resort to tired old devices to wring a reaction out of an audience. The line between convention and cliche is perilously thin. At what point does s tyle become stultifying? When does stagecraft become merely stagey? David Bened ict fingers some good ideas that are, so the cliche goes, well past their sell- by date...

Television Mondo Rosso / Shooting Stars (BBC2)

Jasper Rees on the rise of schlock

An ace party with a great venue attached

As Edinburgh's premiere comedy venue celebrates its 10th birthday,

I am the Izzard king

What happens when the crown prince of the comic monologue tackles Edward II? Eddie Izzard records his far-from-regal progress to the classical stage

ARTS; To play the king (and be a woman)

History is about to be made at the National Theatre - a woman will play Richard II. Why, asks Andrew Temple

Radio 4's lounge Izzard

Comedian in panel-game shock! Eddie Izzard tells James Rampton why he's the new Meryl Streep

Time to stand up and be counted

Stand-up comedy on television rarely works because, invariably, the comedian is given a mere soundbite's worth of airtime to show off his wares. Well that's never stopped the likes of Frank Carson, but there are so many comics about today whose acts are more complexly structured than wham-bam one-liners that they tend to be squeezed out of the equation when it comes to television. Eddie Izzard was irreversibly deterred from TV by his experiences on the BBC's comedy show Paramount City where he found the producers more or less enforcing gag rewrites on the spot.

critical list The essential weekly guide to the Arts

Jenny Agutter (below) has been cast in Ian Judge's Oxbridge-style RSC production of Love's Labour's Lost. Anyone mesmerised by her cool grasp on adolescence in The Railway Children should hotfoot it to the Barbican before its international tour. A lternatively, stay home and watch her in the BBC dramatisation of Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers beginning on Sunday.

CHOICE: Stand up, Izzard

The fact that Eddie Izzard (right) doesn't do television is almost as big a cliche as "comedy is the new rock'n'roll". It is, nevertheless, a remarkable phenomenon. Without regular living-room exposure, the stand-up has still achieved a huge live following, which has happily filled out West End venues for months on end. Fans can now catch Izzard on a national tour, opening at Beck Theatre, Hayes, Middlesex, this week. It doesn't matter what subject he's riffing on - bees; Custard Creams; cats dri lling for oil; the difficulties of learning French at school; how you always know which Star Trek crew-member is about to be zapped because he's wearing a different-coloured jersey from the rest; why are Daleks so scary when all you have to do to avoid t hem is run upstairs? The man has presence - and that is something television cameras just can't capture.

Question Time; with Sophia Chauchard-Stuart: Eddie Izzard, comedian/actor

Eddie Izzard used to hang around Covent Garden, as a street performer, honing his comedy act. Many years later he took the Ambassadors Theatre by storm, wearing a little black cocktail dress on stage. Avoiding the mass appeal of television in his rise as a comedian, he has taken a sideways step into the theatre as an actor. He is now appearing in David Mamet's Cryptogram back at the Ambassadors. Every Friday night, he encourages the audience to miss the last Tube home and stay behind to watch him in improvisation with the cast. In his spare time, Izzard keeps trying to avoid finishing his sitcom, The Cows.
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Bruges
Lake Como
Burgundy
South AFrica
Paris
Northern Corsica
Prices correct as of 21 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital