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Majeure disappointment

Read Carefully

Eddie Izzard – Force Majeure, Antwerp Sportpaleis


It can be difficult for any artist or performer to live up to expectations: each new album, film, book or exhibition must be better than the last.

As a phenomenally successful comedian who has around half-a-dozen sold-out and critically-acclaimed tours to his name, Eddie Izzard certainly has a lot to live up to. His new show, Force Majeure, is on a global tour of various enormo-domes, playing to thousands of fans.

But – here’s the difficult bit – the new show isn’t that great. There is funny and original material, but the biggest laughs were reserved for throwbacks to old material – ‘cake or death’, the Death Star canteen, or enquiring about the existence of flags.

The new material is fine, and there is a good narrative based around notions of belief and logic. Parts on the Romans (‘fascist plumbers’) and the absence of wise pipe-smokers in the modern world worked; however, it felt too easy to take the mickey out of dressage.

The material just didn’t ‘zing’ like Izzard’s back catalogue, and there were few of the memorable lines of the past among the trademark rambling delivery. The encore was flat and half-hearted.

It does feel slightly churlish to criticise someone for a show that is not as good as his brilliant others – but such is the weight of expectation when you have hit such heights in the past.