Memphis, TN • May 10, 2019
by Joe Frietze
The lights went down in the beautifully restored theater. Fog machines and stage lights did their magic. A booming score heralded his arrival. Through the fog he entered center stage, clad in stiletto boots, black tights, a blue plaid skirt, black leather motorcycle jacket, and perfect makeup. Eddie Izzard had returned to Memphis and he looked fabulous!
After a brief introduction that detailed his history with the city – his first American gig was in Memphis, 31 years ago – the “Executive Transvestite” took us on a tour of the history of the universe, from the Big Bang through to current events. The audience was roaring with laughter at the jokes, references, and physical comedy bits, while also cheering for his outspoken political points. He made us laugh at the absurdities of rental scooters and the invention of language, and he made us think about the people in both of our countries who seem intent on replicating the historical mistakes of the recent past. He also made us feel, with loving tributes to his parents, both of whom have passed away.
His stream of consciousness delivery and subject matter will not be a surprise to fans of his work. None of the bits were reused from earlier shows, but the style is very similar. He isn’t reinventing the Izzard wheel with this tour. But he has perfected it. And maybe that is a good thing, as he made a point to say that this is his final tour for a while. After this, he will be running for Parliament in the UK because, “I don’t know how much I can do, but I do know that I can do more than nothing.” If you are close enough to a city where he will be appearing before the end of this tour, do yourself a favor and join a group of people who want to laugh and feel hopeful about our future with a guy wearing a skirt a makeup. ◼