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on 29 December 2013
Eddie Izzard has become something of a national treasure over the years, and it's easy to see why. Ten to fifteen years ago his annual DVD release of his latest show was a must-have - and the idea of cats purring, being covered in bees and God creating Belgium became in-jokes for anyone who had fallen under the Izzard spell. Then came Circle, which was something which we hoped was just a little bump in the road of greatness, but actually spelled the beginning of the end. Each release since then has been more and more disappointing.

So, what is the problem here? Are we just so used to Eddie Izzard's style and way of thinking that we know longer find it as surreal and funny as it used to be? I think that may be some of it - I'd like to see what people who haven't seen the earlier DVDs such as Unrepeatable and Glorious think of Force Majeure. They may find it as hilarious as us Izzard veterans found those earlier releases.

The subjects that Izzard tackles on the new DVD are, to be fair, classic Izzard subjects - human sacrifice, Caesar, and the dressage at the Olympics. It should be a hoot. But I just found myself wishing he would shut up. His sense of pacing seems to have left him. The mimes that used to be so funny just go on for too long now - it's like a film where the director forgot to say "cut". In fact all the sequences go on for too long - he really does get every last drop out of each joke. And the venue probably doesn't help. Izzard's best DVDs have been in more intimate theatres - I'm not sure an arena setting helps. The audience seem to be enjoying themselves, and we spend much of the video looking at them laughing...presumably to remind us this is meant to be funny. Sadly, it's monotonous and goes nowhere fast. The dressage sequence raised a few smiles but, again, long outstayed its welcome.

In the earlier performances, Izzard didn't have to be funny to be constantly interesting. His thoughts on the death of Princess Diana on (I think) Dress to kill were not funny at all (thankfully), but they were interesting and thought-provoking - and one wishes for something remotely as thoughtful here. But most of the material is just plain dull. He seems like the same old Eddie Izzard, and he delivers the material in the same old way. It SHOULD work, but it doesn't. Perhaps comedy and comedians do have a short shelf-life. A sitcom can run for years, but it's way past its best but sticks around because it has become something of an institution. This DVD feels a bit like that. It's nice to know that Eddie Izzard is still doing his stand-up gigs, but his best moments have passed and seem to have been very much rooted to a particular time around a decade or so ago. Perhaps we should welcome each release as it may be the last, as a move to politics seems to be beckoning - but Force Majeure would be a bit of a limp swansong.
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on 27 October 2014
I love Eddie Izzard, I do. We have all his live shows on DVD, I nearly died laughing at 'Dress to Kill', but 'Force Majeure' sadly misses the mark for me. It doesn't have the glorious tempo of his other live shows. It's a real pity. I don't feel compelled to watch it again the instant it's finished, a real sign that it isn't one of his greats.
He looks fabulous though, like he's just come off the set of 'The Riches'.
I'm hoping this is just a blip and he'll be back on form with his next offering.
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on 11 February 2016
I haven't seen this DVD yet (about to purchase), but saw him do this show last night at the Palace Theatre in London. It may be that the DVD was taken too early in the run of the show, because he seems to have polished and refined his jokes to the point where the audience (in a fairly small venue) laughed themselves silly throughout. The only people leaving the show were those leaving it until the last minute to get their last train home, and obviously leaving reluctantly and yet at a gallop. The group I went with are still repeating jokes to each other this morning and giggling. Incidentally, for those people sick of shows being dumbed down for the lowest common denominator - you will love this one, as it assumes you speak good French and German and are fairly cosmopolitan. What a delight! Maybe I can wangle another ticket to see again, as you cannot beat the live experience.
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on 1 December 2013
Having twice seen Eddie Izzard live (first in 1994) I came to this disc hopeful he might be able to recapture the magic of his earlier shows, sadly though Force Majeure is a shadow of those routines.

The entire show plays as though Eddie Izzard is doing an impersonation of himself, with his stylized way of talking being the main focal point, rather than the content, which is simply not that funny.

Although only available on VHS and originally performed over 20 years ago, Live at the Ambassadors remains a classic in stand-up routines that merits repeated viewing. Through the years Eddie's stand-up shows seem to have lost something of what made them unique, but the world will always be richer in the knowledge that when you hear a cat purring from behind the sofa they are in fact....(I couldn't spoil the joke).
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on 2 December 2013
Bought this to keep my collection of Izzard DVD's going. actually thought the DVD was better than the live concert as it has extras. I am a big Eddie fan but think he is coming to the end of the line if he does another concert like this one.
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on 6 February 2014
Eddie is amazing! Unlike most of the comedians today who tell jokes about their everyday lives Eddie has a set, if it's your first experience of Eddie Izzard then id recommend you watch his earlier stuff first! All very very very funny! Then watch this!
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on 16 February 2014
Quite how Eddies' mind works is almost beyond me, but the end product is very cleaver and very funny. With two dvd's and good booklet this excellent VFM and when I win the Lottery I am treating my husband to a visit to Eddie's Taylor. (brilliant suit).
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on 2 April 2015
And now for quite the opposite.
I thought Eddie Izzards days of being really funny had passed, but this is a return to form, and I've been sat here giggling away to the irrelevance like a fool looking at jam made out of old twigs and spit.
If you're sensitive to religious nonsense then yes you may find it a bit pointed, however if you're open minded you'll laugh along as he reintroduces a bunch of old characters and chaos ensues!
I really felt that this was getting back towards the heights of Definite Article and Unrepeatable, and I gone over all warm, fuzzy, and nostalgic.
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on 24 February 2014
We saw this show at the NIA in Birmingham. We're both longtime Eddie fans, bit came away a bit disappointed. Looking back, it seems his career highpoint was "Dress to Kill".
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on 6 May 2016
Popular surrealism requires gig after gig of success and failure, years of honing in order to produce what seems like perfect improvisation. Unfortunately for Izzard and others they have become victims of their own success. No longer needing to schlep around the small clubs they can go straight to sell out large venue gigs and audiences lap it up - this means they basically perform their first draft. This makes for sloppy and slow material which can make you chuckle now and then but has nothing of their true comic genius. Disappointing - Izzard is one of the best comic minds alive but he is not applying it here!
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