Review: Eddie Izzard at Majestic Theatre

Posted 11:42am on Wednesday, Jun. 25, 2014

“Boundless” doesn’t seem a large enough word for Eddie Izzard’s brand of comedy.

The British comedian’s latest tour, which continues tonight and tomorrow at the Majestic Theatre, is titled Force Majeure, which ends being an apt descriptor for the performance itself: a “superior or irresistible force,” as defined by Merriam-Webster.

Tuesday night, Izzard, dressed in a sharp dark suit and fingernails clad in crimson (he remains, after all, a very visible “action transvestite”), careened from one topic to the next over a generous two hours, cleaved by a 20-minute intermission.

Opening with ruminations on human sacrifice — “That always gets a laugh, and I don’t know why,” Izzard observed — before leaping to the metric system, singing dogs atop English monarchs’ heads, Martin Luther, political extremists, the dodginess of Heaven’s wifi, musicals (complete with an impromptu performance of A Wild Dog Stole My Trousers) and the thin line between a Welsh and an Indian accent.

Izzard also sprinkled callbacks to some of his greatest hits throughout the night: James Mason as the voice of God; Jeff, the God of Sandwiches; squirrels with guns and the use of flags to capture territories.

It sounds like free-associative chaos — and, occasionally, a comedic digression would lead Izzard, his expressions and gestures helping emphasize the blizzard of punchlines and non sequiturs, down a dead end — but played like anything but. (As if to underscore the method behind the madness, Izzard picked up the thread of human sacrifice again near the end of his first set, some 50 minutes after first mentioning it.)

The near-capacity crowd, often laughing so loud as to drown out the first few words of the following joke, was with Izzard from the moment he appeared on the stylishly appointed stage, clutching an umbrella and doffing his bowler hat. The Force Majeure tour returned Izzard to the Majestic Theatre, after a 2010 stop at the American Airlines Center, and the cozier confines better suit Izzard, who often relies on little more than a well-timed narrowing of the eyes to drive home a point.

The 52-year-old comedian has retained — and, arguably, greatly expanded upon — his love of language throughout his career (he explained Tuesday that he’s performing his current tour in, among other tongues, French, German and Spanish). That deep and abiding glossophilia leads to some nuanced yet screamingly funny set-ups, including a recurring motif of using et, voila to extricate one’s self from awkward situations.

Izzard has also grown subtly more political over the last 15 years, weaving in pointed jabs at the Tea Party and right-wing ideologies (“We also have crazies,” Izzard explained of his home country. “Every country has a percentage of nutbags.”), even as he expands upon the concept of Buddhist enlightenment, as it relates to his atheism.

The entire evening was a giddy, heady, silly mixture.

Big ideas about humanism, tolerance, awareness and religion collided with chickens as military (and financial) advisors, an epic duel between God and Darth Vader over the last of the spaghetti carbonara, moles digging for ice cream and dressage horses doubling as burglars.

Talk about a force that’s superior and irresistible — Izzard stands alone as a comic unafraid of making you think almost as hard as he makes you laugh.

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

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