Certainly the first time that I’ve seen a single, solitary, stand-up, performer in such a large venue. Eddie Izzard was ‘playing’ the second night at the M.E.N. on his Stripped tour and apart from seats on the upper tiers the placed seemed sold out. Comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll and has been for a few years now. I’m amazed that he is playing such vast spaces, I honestly didn’t think that he was that well known. Remember the days when he would only do stand-up and wouldn’t be seen dead gracing our television screens?
It is, more or less, impossible to distill his act into a few ‘jokes’. There won’t be many people at work tomorrow trying to re-enact the show for their work colleagues. In fact I’m amazed that Eddie manages to remember it all, I can only recall a few segments, the rest just passed by in a blur. Maybe that’s the joy of it, laughing at the time, forgetting most of it, then remembering bits in the weeks that follow.
The interesting thing is that when he does two or three characters you can see that they’re there. You know where on stage they are, your mind just fills in the blanks, even if Eddie confuses the voices or positions, which he makes a joke about and becomes another part of his act. When he does an impersonation of a giraffe, or shark, it is just a short, stocky guy in tails, but the voice and the mannerisms are spot on.
For such a big show there were lights, screens, back-lit panels with hieroglyphs on them (I’ve just remembered another joke) but the major let down was the sound. I’ve heard people complain about the sound in these ‘sheds’ before but I thought that only applied to concerts. It seemed that the only speakers were the ones up in the lighting rig. At a gig these are usually the ones to fill in the sound for the people on the tiers, because bands will have rows of Marshall cabinets on stage. Tonight Eddies disembodied voice only came from those speakers up high near the ceiling and so was no where near loud enough for those down below. Why didn’t they have speakers on stage, behind the light panels, for the punters on the ‘floor’?
And talking about ‘the floor’, are they supposed to be the more expensive seats because you are looking directly at the stage? All I could see was the back of the bloke on fronts head. I spent at least half the show watching Eddie on the big screen in all his pixelated glory. When I did get a chance to see the real thing it was a pleasant surprise. This is all because ‘the floor’ isn’t slanted, obviously, that’d make Disney On Ice a real treat, so you can never see over the person in fronts head. The tiers, albeit at the sides, must give you a better, uninterrupted view, of the stage.