Last night I had the privilege of seeing Eddie Izzard perform his latest tour, Stripped, live in Brighton. The Brighton Centre was an excellent venue for such a popular and well liked comedian and it was filled. As the crowd waited for show to start random images of people in the audience were shown on the big screen whilst Twitter messages to @eddieizzard scrolled up the screen (I even tweeted myself and saw my message appear).
Izzard appeared on-stage to the tune of “let me entertain you” and he certainly did from the outset. Dressed in jeans and a tailcoat, rather than his usual trademark cross-dressing, he immediately delved into his own particular brand of surrealist comedy. Painting a vivid picture for the crowd he ushered them along his story assisted, as always, by a band of anthropomorphic characters of his own making, to highlight the ridiculousness of some of the basic things we take for granted, for instance the pointlessness of human appendix.
The show’s aim, he stated at the start, was to talk about everything, and I mean everything, from the beginning of time to our modern condition. He did it sublimely with a wonderfully formulated story, which appeared off-the-cuff, but I’m sure it was not. Despite the tangential approach to his subject he consistently kept his array of themes and characters on-track and continually returned to jokes and points from earlier in the show to add depth to his ramblings and providing countless moments of side-aching laughter to his crowd.
Even when the odd joke stumbled he recovered cleverly by mocking the silliness of the comment in his “imaginary notebook” and always achieved a laugh. On the rare occasion when he was heckled he managed to get a laugh out of his quick-witted riposte. Eddie Izzard is one of the cleverest comedians touring today and his particular brand of educational madness will, no doubt, continue to draw crowds for years to come. It was an excellent night of entertainment with one of the world’s funniest men. A recent performance of this show was recorded in London and is available to buy on DVD.