It's all about bouncing back

Friday, July 11, 2008

Eddie Izzard, Stripped, Seattle's Paramount Theater, July 11, 2008

The title of Izzard's current U.S. tour certainly puts one in the mood for a sexy evening. Which of course leaves the average concertgoer wondering -- can he still put out? I can't speak for everyone in the audience, but I certainly left satisfied.

But, then, it's always especially gratifying to see a natural at work and Izzard has that sparkling gift, given to so few comedians or lovers, of making even the spectacular look spontaneous, energizing, fun and -- God forbid -- easy. He hops and skips - literally sometimes -- from topic to topic and readily ponders the escape strategy of a giraffe (where *does* something that big go to hide from a speedy carnivore?) alongside the challenges of speaking Latin to convey time-sensitive information (or to describe an elephant to someone who has never seen one before [a backwards squirrel atop an oversized pig, of course]).

He has continued to perfect his lighthearted spontaneous style and it quickly seems to put the audience at ease. I think that emphasizing this "play along with me" approach more in the first hour (before working up to an impressive rabbit-paced delivery in the second) also makes him seem vulnerable and open in a way that gains our trust. And that trust frees him up to tackle any subject -- including the suggestion that God is either non-existent or blatantly stupid -- without raising hackles.

My favorite part of watching Izzard work, though, is observing how skillfully he uses his amazingly intricate and unique face -- especially his penetrating azure eyes -- to reinforce his favored stage emotions of joy, wonder, thoughtfulness and befuddlement. As a result, I've always thought it somewhat criminal to hide any of his blessed features behind makeup; but I'll freely admit that this evening's bright blue eye liner was, like everything else, spot on.


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