REVIEW: Eddie Izzard, Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle

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FROM drilling cats to Toblerone-eating Sith Lords, Eddie Izzard has made his name with his own brand of intellectual gobbledegook.

And there was no shortage of thinking-man’s-nonsense when the marathon-running transvestite landed in Newcastle on his Force Majeure tour, his first North East date since 2009.

There is, of course, always a more serious edge to Izzard’s performances, with political and humanitarian messages embedded among his frenetic jibber-jabber.

Unashamedly pro-European and New Labour through and through, the current political landscape is a fruitful one for the serious edge of his comedic sword, with pops at UKIP and the Conservative-led Coalition unsurprisingly making their way into his act.

One of the biggest laugh-getters of the evening, however, was a simple-but-ingenious feature during the interval.

Unsuspecting audience members were singled out and projected on to a big screen, sparking raucous laughter as they failed to notice before finally twigging the gag

But for me, Izzard did not seem at the top of his game. My giggle count was significantly lower than at previous performances and viewings.

Not just that, but his performance seemed somewhat disjointed, stilted, even, at points.

He also seemed to be going over old material in a way he hadn’t before, dusting off crowd-pleasers such as “cake or death” and his Darth Vader routine.

Many of my fellow audience members were creased with laughter, however, so perhaps it was just me.

And despite my relative lack of laughs, Izzard remains a must-see national treasure.

ROSS ROBERTSON