WHAT: Eddie Izzard: Stripped
WHERE: Trent FM Arena, Nottingham
WHEN: 24 October 2009
I’m not just into cute actors and costume dramas, I’m also a big fan of comedy. Among the many greats of stand-up comedy there is Eddie Izzard, a British comedian born in Yemen, famous for being very funny and also for being an “action transvestite”. He’s not done any stand-up for six years now, as he’s been busy as an actor (Valkyrie, Mystery Men, Prince Caspian, and that TV show with Minnie Driver). Now, he’s back on the stage, with a show called Stripped.
As soon as the Nottingham Trent FM Arena mailing list said “tickets for Eddie Izzard go on sale today”, I jumped straight there, and tonight was the big night. I’ve seen all his previous shows on DVD, bought a couple of shows on cassette tape when I was in London in 2000 and so on, so expectations were high. Mr T didn’t have expectations beyond that hopefully it’d be fun, as he hasn’t seen previous shows on DVD. He had fun, and so did I. Seeing Eddie in real life for the first time was not disappointing.
On the two big screens on the side of the stage, there were instructions for how to send Twitter messages that would appear on screen. I sent a couple, but they didn’t show up. (Which I think is because my account was set to make my tweets private – didn’t know it meant ALL of them … d’oh!) In the background, they showed live footage of the audience – saw us there briefly before the show. It was fun to read, and it made the wait not seem as long.
Eventually, he came on stage: jeans, stripy shirt, eyeliner and something along the lines of a dress coat/tailcoat. The décor in the background was looking like stone walls with various types of writing (hieroglyphs, Arabic, Hebrew, Latin) and symbols and such, and a window. It started by just showing what looked like the trunk of a palm tree and a blue sky. Then a sun came along and changed into an eye during the first part. In the second part, it was an eye, then finished off by the end as the moon with stars shooting past.
It was a very random show, as you’d expect. There were coughing giraffes doing charades (“tie … grrr”), evolution, an American squirrel (“it was a nightmare, man!”), cigarette smoking feral cows (surely some cows have come loose at some point and become feral?), chickens playing jazz, a diary-writing giant squid, neighbours coveting (and covering) oxen, 300 Spartans and haschisch-smoking assassins played by Sean Connery. Oh yes, and death by cake mix. Very close to cake or death, that! 😀 Darth Vader made a cameo as well. So … yeah.
Plenty of nods at previous tours (such as Darth Vader, Sean Connery, etc.) and some bits that he performed at the Secret Policeman’s Ball … last year? The coughing giraffes and Noah’s less-than-perfect plan of the animals on the arc (i.e. tigers would just eat everyone else) were performed there, but in a slightly abbreviated form. Here was the full extent of those bits in all their hilarious glory.
Did I mention the mimes were hilarious? Sometimes a bit drawn out, like the Persian who tried breaking up a Spartan formation by throwing himself on one of the 20-foot spears), but still funny. Nothing that made me laugh to the point of “oww my stomach muscles just got a hefty workout” but still, I did laugh quite a bit. It was funny.
According to his tweets he’s ill, but the only giveaway there was that he had to cough a few times. What a trooper to carry on with a gig when he’s feeling poorly! Then again, had he cancelled, I would’ve been gutted. First time seeing him IRL after having being a fan of his for about ten years … so glad I didn’t miss it. I’m also glad I enjoyed every minute of it! I think the DVD is out already. Maybe something to put on the list for Christmas.
UPDATE 2021: While I know Eddie prefers to go by she/her pronouns now, she doesn’t seem to mind having previously been referred to with he/him, which is why I haven’t changed the pronouns in this review.