Saturday, 4 April 1998

Jenny Eclair, April 4, 1998

Jenny Eclair
Supper Room Melbourne Town Hall until April 26, 1998
Melbourne International Comedy Festival 1998
Reviewed by Kate Herbert on or around. April 3, 1998

If you have delicate sensibilities, or pride yourself on maintaining the high moral ground, then Jenny Eclair (or "that cake woman" as she is now known) is not for you. Rude words and naughty bits are her forte.

Eclair is a brassy blonde. There's absolutely nothing prissy prim and natural about this bouffant. "I'm blonde by choice". Her rapid wicked unapologetic Northern England babble has something of Ben Elton's style while her bizarre, perpetual motion physicality conjures up some insane alternative Playschool host.

She gabbles hilariously and provocatively about 'shagging', body parts, misspent youth, ageing ungracefully, the gravitational damage of childbearing and the 'shagless' long-term relationship.

Eclair on age: "A personality is the last refuge of a woman on the decline". On make-up: "I love the way it makes my face look ten years younger than my neck." On lasting relationships: "The secret is lies and deceit." On children: "You're not allowed to slap 'em, so give 'em a crap haircut." On going to the country: "I feel nervous if I can't see a sock shop out the corner of me eye."

Of course, these are only her printable quotes. Eclair is a "blue" comic. With a great deal more style and wit, she has keyed into an arena that was reserved for crass male comics. You know, the ones who do sex and fart jokes of which we have seen far to many behaving as if they are doing some male liberation routine. Remember that awful yobbo Brit TV footy comic, Frank Skinner last year?

Eclair is honest, never apologises for anything except a routine she thinks isn't funny enough. She simultaneously appals and entertains, astonishes and outrages the audience. It seems most of her staunchest critics are men who cannot deal with her raw sexual honesty. "I've been described as a 'hard-faced cow," she says.

She is vulgar but achingly funny. Her whippet-thin body and raspy smoker's voice are reminiscent of a bar girl in an episode of "The Bill". She alternately props her bones in a chair or prowls about the stage, leaning over the front rows with a leering red mouth and warm grin.

If you're up for some totally trashy and clever content, see the cake woman.


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