Eddie Izzard @ The Leadmill
Eddie Izzard is one busy man. Not content with putting his feet up after completing 27 marathons in 27 days for Sport Relief, he is back out on the road in support of the Stand Up for Europe campaign, visiting 31 different cities in 31 days to encourage British voters of all ages to register to vote IN in the upcoming referendum. Anyone would be forgiven for thinking this would give him a few nights off, mais non! Because tonight he continued his Force Majeure 333 Tour treating The Leadmill to three shows… in three languages… back to back. Mais oui! Does he ever get any down time? I suspect not.
First performed in German, French and English in Caen, Normandy on 6th June 2014 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Force Majeure 333 is not something I thought I would ever see in such an intimate venue in my adopted hometown mais voilà! Un one-man-show avec Eddie Izzard – c’est trop cool! Sporting a delightful pink beret and heels, he treated us Sheffield francophones to a delicious series of comic vignettes, beginning à propos of nothing with, well… human sacrifice and finishing us off with the futility of dressage – “Why do they do it?” The journey between the two took in Charles 1st, Oliver Cromwell, the origins of the Caesar salad, moles in search of ice-cream – “It’s the opposite of soup,” and backing a horse into a wardrobe. All in 45 minutes and all en français. Pas mal, n’est-ce pas?
Not bad at all, and what’s truly impressive here is the work that has undoubtedly gone into the transformation of his performance from a monolingual act of surreal comic genius into a show which, through painstaking effort and hard-work doesn’t merely transcend language barriers, it removes them well and truly from the equation, allowing a totally new audience to visit World Izzard. This, I suspect, has not come lightly; but his attention to linguistic detail, his subtle cultural references and his well researched profanity delight the native speaker while still allowing the English audience to follow his logique and to experience a night of comedy which, in its true sense, is extra-ordinaire.
This very busy man seems to be indefatigable. He is a British European, passionate about opportunity, language and Europe and his only words in English were as a parting gesture to us, the audience, to encourage the youth of Sheffield to get out there and vote IN on June 23rd. He left the stage in his pink beret to go and prepare for his third show of the evening and I left the Leadmill, thoughts of improbable dressage feats buzzing round my brain – just how would you back a horse into a voting booth? Bon travail Monsieur Izzard, je vous tire mon chapeau.
Words: Will Reece