Saturday, 1 April 2017

Jenny Eclair, March 31, 2017 ****

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Jenny Eclair in How To Be A Middle Aged Woman (Without Going Insane) 
International act (UK) 
At Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne until April 23, 2017
Stars: **** 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert
 Review also published in Herald Sun Arts online on April 1, 2017
Jenny Eclair pounds around the stage like a menopausal storm trooper in her show, How To Be A Middle Aged Woman (Without Going Insane).

When she says she’s hot, she means in a sticky, sweaty, hot-flushed way, not in the sexy, sassy, I-look-great-in-a-bikini way.

To a chorus of audience hoots and gasps, Eclair bustles on stage wearing only her skimpies: a slightly saggy, white bra and black, snug-fitting knickers with lacy bits. (That’s no spoiler as she wears precisely this outfit in her poster.)

For one hour, in her audacious, outrageous and shameless way, Eclair scuttles about, grimacing and growling about the horrors of middle age and, more specifically, the disaster that is menopause.

The 57-year old Eclair may be bemoaning her scaly, flabby, sweaty, slovenly condition, but she cleverly integrates merciless attacks on some pet subjects that include ‘Poor Madonna’ (who’s a year older than Eclair) and her Cuban boy-lovers, Simon Cowell, and the impossibility of wearing jeans at 57.

She peppers her hilariously wicked tales of womanly woe with rude language, risqué topics, references to bodily functions and private bits, all delivered with a belligerent feistiness that is simultaneously alarming and refreshing.

This is identification comedy that draws a crowd of women of a certain age who squeal or howl as they recognise themselves in Eclair’s startling anecdotes about old people’s drugs, supermarket blues, losing the fighting against cellulite and giving in to knitting.

Eclair’s a wonderfully wild child with a wild past and, by the looks of it, an even wilder future.

By Kate Herbert

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