Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eddie Izzard: Stripped (The SOB Review)

Eddie Izzard: Stripped (The SOB Review) - State Theatre, Minneapolis, MN

* (out of ****)

Stripped seems like an apt metaphor for this threadbare show that is bereft of articulate, cogent thought I had come to expect from comedian/actor Eddie Izzard. Also largely missing was the humor.

Certainly, anyone following his act may be led to believe that Stripped references the lack of transvestitism for which he's made his mark. And there's nary a trace of it given his ringmaster coat and casual jeans appearance.

But Stripped instead unintentionally comes off as a pseudo-intellectual's desire to have his rambling and often incoherent thoughts -- which he's constantly interrupting himself, only to ask the audience, "Where was I?" -- taken seriously.

Yes, we get that Izzard does not believe in a higher being. But to make this the basis for most of his long, two-plus hour rant is hardly entertaining (although he does have one funny bit about Noah's ark).

I found myself fixated on what little real movement there was on the stage. It came from a set design that included a window to the skies. I sat and watched the sun morph into a black hole that turned into a moon. Sadly, it was as if the world was passing me by, and I wasn't laughing.

Unfortunately, that black hole had me feeling truly trapped during an appallingly unpolished performance. In the end, the only thing I felt stripped of was the money I paid to sit through this tedious slog.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 04 June, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh, Steve, my friend, we're going to have to respectfully disagree about this one. I saw it in Boston and was enthralled.

I'm a huge fan of Eddie Izzard in general, and this particular performance showcases him at his stream-of-consciousness best. His stand-up is decidedly scatter-shot, but that's part of his charm, at least for me.

As for the atheism, well, pardon the irony, but for me at least he was preaching to the choir.


At 04 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Chris, I'll readily admit that most of the crowd ate it up while my eyes glazed over looking at the set design. The scattershot approach lost me.

At 05 June, 2008, Blogger Unknown said...

I loved his pre-Stripped Union Square appearance so much I saw it again. I'm curious, do you find funny the standup comic act of... say... Robin Williams?

At 05 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Time, Glad you enjoyed it. Wonder how much if at all the performance you caught differed from mine.

To answer your question regarding Robin Williams, the answer is yes. I find Robin Williams maniacically funny, as I attested to about five years ago here. At that time, I stated:

#5 – Robin Williams (Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis, MN) – The manic maestro of comedy brought his talents to the stage of Minneapolis’ famed (and about to be razed) Guthrie Thrust Stage. I honestly don’t recall ever laughing for a longer sustained period of time in my life than I did during this excellent performance. WOW!

How about you?

At 30 June, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you on was an EYE that morphed into a moon, not a black hole.

That being said, I too felt he was off his mark causing the routine to feel almost...forced. Especially the transvestite musings.

At 30 June, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Carisa, Were you as fixated on that window as I was? Perhaps it was an eye! Thanks for checking in!

At 12 July, 2008, Blogger Vifargent said...

I was searching the Internet looking for reviews and hoping some would mesh with mine. I just saw his show last night in Seattle, and couldn't agree more.

Like you, I've enjoyed and respected his work and its style in the past, but it just seemed he wasn't trying. That he didn't care. Like once we had bought the tickets, his part of the transaction (being Eddie Izzard and having done brilliant shows in the past) was done.

I didn't just feel bored; I felt cheated, as well. Never had that particular response to a performance before, and I never want to feel it again.

At 12 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Vifargent, So glad to know I'm not alone! And I couldn't agree with you more about the feeling of being cheated. Almost makes me wonder why he bothers to show up when he's clearly phoning it in.

At 15 July, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw him in Portland, OR last night. I too was disappointed, fixated on the window (I saw an eye and a moon ) and, quite frankly, bored. I'm a magnanimous sort, so I figured my response was due to the fact that perhaps his humor doesn't work in a large forum, or that perhaps he was exhausted from his tour and off the mark. The sound system was also sub-par, so I had trouble making out all that he said.

- JLS in Portland

At 16 July, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

JLS, You know, given how much I truly like Eddie Izzard, I had hoped that my experience in Minneapolis would have proved a fluke. Sounds like it just keeps running on fumes.

At 02 August, 2008, Blogger Laurah said...


I have to agree that this was sub-par for Mr Izzard, and not at all what I've come to expect from him.

I saw him live 5 years ago (touring for Sexie) and almost bust a gut. I think I actually *did* pee my pants when I saw Dressed To Kill on HBO a couple of years before that. But I saw him Wednesday night (31 July) here in Denver at the Paramount, and I, my boyfriend, and another couple we know were all in agreement--it was lame.

Not that it wasn't amusing--not that we didn't laugh--but the consensus was too polished, too rehearsed, too dumbed-down for the masses. It just wasn't the sort of funny I expected. Ah well... glad to know we were not alone in not waxing enthusiastic over this performance.

At 04 August, 2008, Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Mercutiax, While I'm quite relieved I'm not the only one who feels this way, I am rather disappointed that it wasn't a one-night-only fluke. Eddie Izzard is an amazing talent, after all, but I wonder why he's not letting it shine.


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