Thebarton Theatre, Sun 10 Mar.
A decent-sized crowd at Thebarton Theatre applauds enthusiastically as the lights go down, the smoke machine billows and the music starts – showtime, folks! Eddie Izzard arrives on stage in what he refers to as “girl mode”; dressed to kill in a skirt and knee-length boots. He begins by suggesting the Second World War was probably the greatest piece of evidence disputing the existence of God and, judging by the laughter and cheering, he’s amongst friends tonight.
The first half of Wunderbar sees Izzard ramble and rail on religion, history, evolution, Trump, various royals, and the explosion of William the Conqueror. It’s all top-shelf comedy, delivered in Izzard’s trademark scattered yet very skilful style.
The second section sees Izzard sporting a new outfit – short shorts & jacket and explains that his legs “came with the marathons”. He then tells tales of his adventures while marathon running in both the UK and South Africa. His bizarre story-telling approach takes the audience through a crazy world of ocean swimming, lazy tigers, super heroes, Tolkien, and his own childhood in Aden and Northern Ireland.
Izzard is fabulous. There is much to like. His greatest skills include a quickness of thought that leaves mere mortals floundering, an ability to come unstuck with aplomb before effortlessly picking up the thread again, and the delightful strands of stories that wind themselves through the performance. But it is his ability for characterisation, whether he is being God, himself as a child, a butterfly or any sort of inanimate object that is most impressive.
The final stanza, a brief encore, includes his Dad’s rabbit joke, Izzard’s own theory of the universe, and a final exhortation that the people of Earth should accentuate the positive and ensure that everyone gets a fair chance.
Stand-up comedy’s loss will be politics’ gain.