Two of Britain’s leading comedians, Eddie Izzard and Bill Bailey, are launching a comedy offensive on Shaftesbury Avenue this autumn. Izzard bring his show Stripped to the Lyric theatre, while Bailey performs Tinselworm at the Gielgud theatre.
Stripped is Izzard’s first large-scale London show since 2003, when he presented Sexie at Wembley Arena. The successful show, which plays for just 23 nights at the Lyric between 17 November and 12 December, has already sold out a 34-city US tour during which the New York Times said: “His humor reflects the scattershot lunacy of Monty Python, but with flashes of Robin Williams’s manic energy and a sophisticated silliness that is entirely his own.”
Widely regarded as one of the leading British stand-up comedians of his generation, Izzard became famous both for his glamorous use of female clothing and for his stream-of-consciousness style performances where ideas and situations are taken in bizarre, tangential, absurd and surreal directions. His previous shows, including Dress To Kill, Definite and Glorious, have been hugely successful both on stage and as recordings. Since 2003, Izzard has been concentrating on his move into acting, scoring a worldwide hit with US drama The Riches. This autumn he stars opposite Tom Cruise in the movie Valkyrie.
Bailey has the ability to be every bit as bizarre as Izzard, and has a history of mixing music and comedy to hilarious effect. The former team captain on comedy music panel show Never Mind The Buzzcocks toured Tinselworm around UK arenas in 2007 before taking the show to Australia and New Zealand earlier this year.
Among the targets for Bailey’s humour in Tinselworm are tattoos, marketing, doorbells, emo, creationism, post-war banking secrecy, travellers’ tales and the alternate reality that is Bill’s world – spun together with the sparkling thread of a seasonal invertebrate.
Bailey, like Izzard, has mixed comedy with acting, appearing in 12 Angry Men and The Odd Couple at the Edinburgh Festival, and in Pinter’s People last year in the West End. His last London comedy run came in 2004, when he brought Bill Bailey: Part Troll to the Apollo theatre.
Tinselworm plays at the Gielgud from 10 November to 20 December, filling the time between the closure of Rupert Goold’s acclaimed production of Six Characters In Search Of An Author and the transfer of Alan Bennett’s Enjoy.