Writer: David Mamet
Director: Gregory Mosher
On 29th June 1994, Eddie made his West End acting debut in the World premiere of David Mamet’s play, The Cryptogram at the Ambassadors Theatre. The play closed in September that year.
Eddie played Del in this story of betrayal set in Chicago in 1959. Donny (Lindsay Duncan) comes to realise that her (offstage) husband has left her and her insomniac son John (Danny Worter), who can’t sleep because he is excited about a planned camping trip with his father the next day – his father doesn’t turn up. The following night, Donny and John also realise that their homosexual friend, Del is a liar, hypocrite and accomplice in the husband’s betrayal. A month passes and we see Donny and John packing to leave their home. A contrite Del and a bitter Donny turn against John, who has retreated into his fantasy world.
Donny and Del continue to fail John, who has learned that all adults betray and the ending of the play is left hanging as John is left with German Army knife, given to him by his father.
The play was generally received with some confusion - the title itself, the apparent links to Mamet’s own childhood (although this was denied by director Greg Mosher), the unclear symbolism and the unresolved ending with critics calling it tantalising, elusive and mysterious.
“Mr Izzard wonderfully and economically captures the essence of his character, a Chicago ‘Queen’ in his armour of Ivy League clothes….” Wall Street Journal
“David Mamet’s tremendous new play is about betrayal….Lindsay Duncan and Eddie Izzard give blazing, but fiercely controlled, performances….” Sunday Times
“Eddie Izzard’s Del is a convincing study of lonely, whimsical queen….” Sunday Telegraph
“Izzard, best known as a stand-up comedian, reveals himself as a fine actor….” Daily Telegraph