Read our review of Force Majeure
Eddie Izzard – Force Majeure
He ran 43 marathons in 51 days, has his 2020 sights set on Boris Johnson’s job and is now bringing his 2013/14 World Tour show, "Force Majeure” to Switzerland where he will be performing it exclusively in the French language. Nope, there’s no denying Eddie Izzard’s ambition. And in ‘Force Majeure’ (the aforementioned world tour), the 51-year-old comic’s set himself another epic challenge, choosing grand, universal topics – from ancient civilizations to mythical creatures – that aim to have as much resonance in Warsaw as Wembley.
So, human sacrifice…’ he says, to open tonight’s show, before miming executions and telling us about history’s many ‘dickhead kings’. The suave standup – dressed in a sharp suit and Cuban heels – has a knack for reducing centuries’ worth of history to just a few exquisite words (Romans were just ‘fascist plumbers’, for example) and he certainly flaunts his intellect, covering everything from Greek gods to religious theories and the workings of the universe.
But it’s the simpler, more whimsical ideas that get the biggest laughs tonight: slipping the word ‘fuck’ into the middle of French words, creating a musical about a trouserless spider and, however hackneyed the idea, the treat of physical comedy that is his routine ridiculing Olympic dressage.
In fact, perhaps Izzard’s been a bit too ambitious as the show just feels rather messy. Of course, a scatty delivery is part of his bumbling charm, but much of the two-hour long show just feels like half-thought-out streams-of-consciousness, with many routines reaching a dead end and just fizzling out.
‘Force Majeure’ is by no means vintage Izzard. But let’s hope, before he quits stand-up and moves into politics, there’s a major league – or ‘ligue majeure’, as he might say – show in him yet. Ben Williams
POSTED: MONDAY MAY 13 2013
Read our Eddie Izzard interview
Multiple marathons, huge world tours and sold out shows aren't enough for this comedy superstar. Could Eddie Izzard be the person to beat Boris and become Mayor of London? And would you vote for him? Read all about his political plans in our extensive interview.Read more
See Eddie Izzard in London
Eddie Izzard’s ‘Force Majeure’ isn’t your average West End comedy show. It’s not new – he first performed it in the capital in 2013. But then, it’s not exactly old either. For the last three years, he’s been touring it across 28 countries, performing it in his audience’s native tongue then adding the parts he likes as permanent features. So what we have is the ‘reloaded’ version. A sort of greatest hits. But with French bits. The first half of ‘Force Majeure’ is spellbinding. It’s not just a romp through the kind of madcap Izzard antics that see Darth Vader and God duelling over spaghetti carbonara, or Julius Caesar seeking military advice from Marc Anthony; it’s a show about a show. The high-heeled comic steps around the fourth wall to point out that the reason a Martin Luther skit is performed in German is due to it having been introduced in Berlin. Or to explain that a surreal gag where a French king meets a dolphin is due to him building a skit for a Gallic gig based around the dual use of the word ‘dauphin’. When he explains exactly how well observations on the similarity of Welsh and Pakistani accents went down with audiences for whom English isn’t a first language (not very well, ‘but I talked them through it anyway,’ he chuckles), you feel part of his gang. This isn’t your average show. It’s like a social club. It’s lovely. But then he comes back on after the interval and business seemingly lapses back into a straight-up comedy show. While the first half was all cleveRead more