Visitors to Los Angeles are always surprised when I tell them there are free museums. One of the least known is on the grounds of one of So Cal’s top attractions—the Hollywood Bowl Museum. It’s open year-round in the daytime (with free parking), and nightly before concerts (the season starts in June). Call 323-850-2058.
Eddie Izzard, who made history as the first comedian ever to play the Bowl (if you don’t count musical humorists like Victor Borge), is on view in two recent DVDs available from Salient Media. “Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story” is a compelling documentary about the British transvestite stand-up comic that probes his background through interviews with his father and former schoolmates, along with clips of early gigs. There are some remarkably candid moments with Izzard talking backstage about what drives him.
Fans will appreciate “Live from Wembley,” a concert film that depicts him as a god-like idol. He’s highly amusing as he jokes about his faux breasts and riffs on Greek mythology, but his rockstar status eludes me. A bonus feature, “Live from Norwich,” is markedly different in contrast with him trying out material on a small audience.
Two unjustly obscure British comedies are newly available on DVD from MGM Home Entertainment. “The Bed Sitting Room” (1969), which takes place in a post-nuclear London, is a wacky farce based on a play co-written by Spike Milligan, and directed by Richard Lester. The cast includes Rita Tushingham, Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, Ralph Richardson, Milligan and “Goon Show” colleague Harry Secombe, and Marty Feldman in his film debut.
Cook also turns up in “Getting it Right” (1989) a comedy about a 31-year-old virgin (Jessie Birdsall) forced to choose between three women. It co-stars Helena Bonham Carter, Lynn Redgrave, and John Gielgud among others, and is directed by Randal Kleiser.
“The Bretts,” an entertaining British dramedy about a London theatrical family and their gossipy servants, was recently issued on 6-disc, 19-episode DVD by Acorn Media. Set in the late 1920s, the show stars Norman Rodway and Barbara Murray and was co-written by “Upstairs, Downstairs” writer Rosemary Anne Sisson; it aired here on PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre and is well worth checking out.
More from Jordan:
Show biz book & DVD shelf: Alastair Sim, Britain of the ‘30s-‘50s remembered
Now on DVD: Tracey Ullman series, witty Britcom, silly Israeli farce
Pulitzer-winning ‘Topdog,’ ‘Car Plays’ staged in Costa Mesa
‘Muses’ in Fullerton, Pete Seeger and pals in Laguna & San Diego http://shar.es/Wi6rN
Mamet’s ‘Buffalo’ loose in OC, ‘Orson’s Shadow’ in Long Beach http://shar.es/fWAUp
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