Never have I entered a theatre to see long queues of people waiting to collect their free copy of the performers latest autobiography, until now. I was flabbergasted at this unique gesture of kindness from Eddie Izzard, to his fans. Furthermore, the books we all received were exclusively signed hardbacks, with the same title as the show we had come to watch.

Going into the auditorium, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but was excited with the anticipation of it all, and I wasn’t the only one. As soon as Izzard walked on stage, the audience burst into applause, and continued with it for a good while. So much so, that Izzard had to wait a few moments before getting started.

Dressed in his beloved high heels, wearing a full face of makeup, and clutching his own copy of his book, Izzard got straight down to business. Having admitted to often running out of time at his gigs, he said he wanted to delve straight in, and did so by opening his book, and beginning to share with us his life as a child.

We heard about his place of birth, school life, and the heartache of losing his darling mother at a very young age.

It became obvious that this was going to form the style of the show, wherein he was going to guide us through some of the highlights of his life, via his heavily bookmarked hardback.

I must admit, I had rather mixed feelings about this seminar-style show.  On the one hand, I felt slightly cheated, as I couldn’t help thinking that if we had wanted to go through his book, then we could have read our own (generously given) copies we all had resting on our laps or in our bags.

On the other hand, this was an honoured experience, in which we got to see the ever-expressive Izzard bring his own words to life. Perhaps at first, my disappointment was because I’d been looking forward to watching him perform some of his famous stand-up, like so many audiences before us who’d had the pleasure of watching.  However, when I properly thought about it, we were the lucky ones. We got to experience an intimate account of what makes Izzard the person he is today. We got to hear how important his family is, and the challenges he faced growing up. We got to see some personal photographs and videos, which gave an even deeper insight into our transgender friend’s life. I use the word friend because that’s how he made everyone feel, like we were all in this together as one big group of friends reciting stories of our lives.

Izzards on stage communications with ‘Sarah’ (who ran the technical side of things off stage) were highly entertaining as they moved through slides and videos together. We couldn’t see Sarah, only hear her, but the rapport they had seemed both familiar, and amusing. Resulting in some of the biggest laughs of the evening.

Was this show what I was expecting? I don’t know. Was this show hilariously funny? No. Was this show thought provoking, interesting, and lined with humour? Absolutely, and I for one am very much looking forward to reading my new book. Thanks Eddie.

Reviewer: Sara Woodruff

Reviewed: 2nd July 2017

North West End Rating: ★★★★

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