fri 24/10/2014

Jenny Eclair, touring | Comedy reviews, news & interviews

Jenny Eclair, touring

Deliciously potty-mouthed comic on fine form

Jenny Eclair on growing old disgracefully

Among the many things Jenny Eclair does these days - writing novels, panto, appearing on television in various guises - she has found time to go back on the road with Eclairious. TV hasn't curbed her deliciously potty mouth, thank goodness, and even though she says by way of introduction “Please lower your expectations”, she proves to be on fine form, as ever.

Her material is much of the same old shtick - railing against the ravages of time on her body and libido, the shortcomings of men and the irritations of other people's children - and whereas a comic such as Jack Dee delivers a similarly weary world view with more than a dash of dyspepsia, Eclair's energetic style is almost its polar opposite. As she skips around the stage in celebration of a particularly painful pun, she says, “You're never too old to pretend to be a pony.”

The men particularly enjoy the scatological material, of which there's a fair amount

Eclair starts as she means to go on, mentioning ill-fitting bra straps, tampons and genital chafing within the first few minutes. But this isn't comedy merely for middle-aged women, for whom there is certainly much laughter of recognition at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, where I saw the show. Her audience - more mixed in age and gender than her Grumpy Old Women appearances might suggest - laps it up; when she mentions her lost youth, or her “being-a-right-slag” years, the young women whoop, while the men particularly enjoy the scatological material, of which there's a fair amount.

She covers a lot of ground, and the gag count is high; the de rigueur Jimmy Savile joke (an atrocious pun) is dealt with early but mostly it's about being a 50-something woman, invisible in our society unless you're Madonna; she is, she says, going to write a book called “50 Shades of Beige for women who can only orgasm over a Farrow & Ball chart”.

Other subjects covered are a checklist to see if you're an irritating middle-class parent (if your three-year-old asks for smoked salmon and Greek olives, you are), how women's facial hair has a mind of its own and how pubic topiary has changed since her day, and the weirdness of Paul McCartney's hair (on his head, thankfully). She also reveals some showbiz secrets about ITV's Loose Women (where her contract was not renewed) and appearing in panto.

Eclair's conversational style works a treat with this kind of material, and any supposed negativity towards men or children is leavened by affectionate references to her partner (not husband, as she thinks they're both too immature to get married) and their daughter. I'm not saying Eclair is a pussy cat underneath the claws-out comedy but cynical she's not, and she makes a couple of hours speed by.

Another subject covered is how pubic topiary has changed since her day

rating

4

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