eddie izzard, "Circle"

This performance was filmed in New York City during the summer of 2000, during the follow up tour to Eddie Izzard's breakout US tour Dress to Kill, which subsequently became an Emmy award-winning hit as an HBO special. While most of the cross-dressing actor / comedian's fans will rejoice at the availability of more of his work (this DVD is one of only three live gigs released in North America), those looking for a repeat of the brilliantly funny previous release could be in for a disappointment. Circle, which in fact does have a few brilliant moments, seems to borrow heavily at times from Izzard's back catalogue of material. Although his standup has always been thematic (religion, history, and politics are frequent subjects of his largely improvised, often surreal onstage musings), longtime fans will likely be able to pinpoint the specific previous sources of various lines in this performance. Additionally, his frenetic switches from subject to subject (Jesus conversing with dinosaurs one minute to telling the Queen her dress is the "dog's bollocks" the next) and brief confused pauses in which Izzard tries to get back on topic, seem less slightly less charming and more perplexing than in Dress to Kill. Nonetheless, decked out in Dolce & Gabbana leather S&M trousers, spiked heels and diamond necklace, Eddie is still as intelligent, thoughtful and lovable as ever. Whether he's doing an impression of God in a James Mason voice, or acting out a "lost scene" from Star Wars in which Darth Vader complains about the wet lunch trays in the Death Star cafeteria, he strikes a wonderful balance between intellectualism and pure silliness. What's more is the audience still seems to adore him, even when he seems to be going astray, and Izzard is mutually respectful.
The DVD release contains some nice extras, including "behind the scenes" documentary footage shot during the Circle tour, a somewhat muddled-through commentary track by Eddie, and a performance from the Dress to Kill tour in French (including English subtitles). All in all, it's a great package, and a good prelude to Izzard's upcoming world tour this fall.