Eddie Izzard
Definite Article

Starring: Eddie Izzard (and Mrs Badcrumble)
Universal Pictures Video
RRP 19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 04 October 2004

Eddie Izzard shares his offbeat opinions on Champagne, fresh fruit, hairnets, Pavlov's cats, James Bond's gadgets and other bizarre subjects, recorded live on stage at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London...

In this reissue of his 1996 VHS release, Eddie Izzard's eccentric anthropomorphising scales new heights of strangeness, as he attributes personalities to pears during a tirade about fresh fruit. Pears are vindictive creatures, he tells us, for they go from being hard and unripe to mush when we're not looking.

Advertising is another favourite subject that he resumes following his Unrepeatable tour, as he discusses the defunct brand Mr Dog, which was renamed Cesar following a "strokey-beard session" on the part of the company executives. Dogs are also touched upon during the comedian's comments about the scientist Pavlov, though he quickly switches to wondering how far Pavlov would have got had he tried to condition the behaviour of cats (answer: not very far at all really).

Fantasy fans should particularly relish the segment concerning James Bond's gadgets, a routine that involves the debut of Izzard's Sean Connery impersonation - complete with uncharacteristic Muttley-style snigger.

The material shows its age a bit when the comedian talks about British television only offering four channels to choose from, and even more so when he ponders the nature of the "pause" button on VCRs. His description of the "La Cucaracha" pause clearly predates the widespread uptake of DVD players with their pristine pause facilities - which is ironic given the medium in which this product has now been released!

The production values have gone up a notch since Unrepeatable. As Eddie himself claimed at the time, his previous show had him just walking on stage and saying "Hello". This time he makes an impressive entrance emerging from between the pages of a giant book.

At just under 110 minutes duration, the main feature runs half an hour longer than Unrepeatable, but unfortunately much of this time is wasted on pauses, "erm"s and "ye-e-e-e-e-es"s as Izzard visibly and repeatedly struggles to remember the next bit of his act.

To compensate, though, the extra features (which were unavailable for review) include the 50-minute BBC documentary, Je Suis a Stand-up, which follows the comedian on a globetrotting tour that takes in Paris, Reykjavik, Stockholm, Cologne and off-Broadway in the USA.

Despite its lulls, Definite Article is definitely still worth picking up.

Richard McGinlay

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