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Eddie Izzard’s first stand-up DVD to be released in Australia, Dressed To Kill, introduced us to a rather strange looking comedian who turned out to be funnier than most. Although he’s dressed in women’s clothing and sports some immaculate make-up, his routine is actually pretty straight forward, poking fun at anything and everything. This time we witness Eddie in all his glory performing in front of a New York crowd in 2003. What’s even better is that this performance turns out to be even more entertaining.

Eddie Izzard - Circle
The Show
Eddie’s angle surrounds historical figures and events for the most part, with no one sacred. People such as Jesus, Alexander the Great and The Pope get their turn, Eddie running full steam ahead with some great gags involving his perceived stupidity of various situations these figures found themselves in. Izzard comes across as a great lover of history and religion so his routines are funny even though many of you (including myself) might not understand some of the events in question.

Being a Brit performing in New York means that Eddie has a lot of scope to poke fun at his country as well as the US. The American audience delight in listening to Eddie slating World Series Baseball (where he points out that the US has miraculously won every single time) and tackling the whole guns issue in an hilarious fashion. These little sidetracks are a great way to segment the more lengthy pieces on religion. His conversation between God and Jesus about the creations of dinosaurs is hysterically funny and epitomises the quality of his very lengthy routine.

Other issues looked at in Eddie’s unique light include astronauts and space travel, the Big Bang theory (“sh*t happens”), Britain’s mad cow disease and the “alternative” Olympics. The scenarios Izzard sets up pave the way for some great comedy, albeit in a very hap-hazard fashion at times as Eddie bounces around from joke to joke. On thing to note if you’re looking through a topic of interest in the chapter listing is that it’s always one behind, so chapter thirteen’s title of hatred and sharks should really be at number fourteen in the list. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem because hopefully you’ll want to watch the whole thing from the beginning.

Izzard has undeniable talent. His comedy isn’t of the very offensive nature and there’s no spite or anger involved in the routine like some others (though the language is up there are times), giving him plenty of room to be straight-out funny without resorting to vulgarity or foul-mouthedness. Those of you may like something a little less tame but for a great laugh you can’t go past this disc, which is more fun than Dressed To Kill probably because it’s a little more structured and the topics covered are more conducive to comedy. For an alternative look at Izzard’s work check out The Cat’s Meow, where he plays Charlie Chaplin with aplomb. Hopefully there’s plenty more where that came from, too.

Eddie Izzard - Circle
Video
Like his previous DVD release, the disc is presented in 1.33:1 full screen, not the 1.85:1 as stated on the back cover. Nevertheless the transfer is impressive on the whole without having much to do. The backdrop is a little more intense this time but there are no visual nasties to be seen on the print and the colours are as vibrant as they can be without bleeding all over the place. Chances are you won’t be concentrating on the actual visuals all that much so the video presentation does the job well.

Audio
The 2.0 mix is perfectly adequate for this disc, giving us clear dialogue that is never drowned out by the audience’s laughter. Again, as long as you can hear what’s going on there shouldn’t be a problem. Little else to say on this, then.

Extras
Good to see comedy DVDs afforded a few extras to add a little value to the disc. Circle includes quite a few extras so you’ll have a little fun after you’ve dried your eyes from the main feature. First up is the Circle Tour, where we travel around with Eddie and his posse as they get ready to play the show in America. The first few minutes give us a funny little look at Eddie getting pulled over (though the officer never tells us why) and told he needs some photo ID while driving around. What’s even more funny is that Eddie asks him if it’s OK to do a U-turn after his talking to and the American policeman seems to say “yeah, it’s ok, don’t crash”. Bizarre! The featurette runs for an impressive 20-odd minutes and is a great behind the scenes look at things.

And continuing on from the previous release, Dressed To Kill, we have the Dress To Circle show from Paris, where Eddie performs in French. This is on the other Izzard disc so they’ve kind of doubled up if you’re planning on owning both of them (and you should) but it’s still a great addition and gives you the whole “2-for1” feel once again.

The commentary tracks, one for Circle and one for the extra performance in Paris, are well worth a listen. Eddie talks about the opening sequence to the main feature and then moves on to little bits of information here and there about his performance. He admits that it’s the first time he’s heard the show for some time which would explain the silences dotted along the way as he listens in but for the most part there’s some real value to his comments.

Eddie Izzard - Circle
The trivia track adds even more value to the show and could be used in conjunction with the commentaries as you look to get a little more information from the disc about various bits and pieces. Again, it’s a valuable addition to the extras section. Rounding out the collection of extras is a weblink to Eddie’s home page and a screensaver which can be accessed via your DVD-ROM. The behind the scenes featurette and the additional show really do make this an impressive extras list for a comedy disc, hence the great score.

Overall
While Dressed To Kill was great, Circle is even better. Once you’re used to Eddie’s style (and dress, though that’s never really an issue) you can have a lot of fun with his routines. It’s more intellectual than a lot of comedians so those who’d like to think while they laugh will get a real kick out of this one. Video and audio don’t need to be mentioned, while the extras are again very valuable for this kind of disc so be sure to check this one out and add it to your collections.


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