Jenny Eclair: Middle Aged Bimbo
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2001
It's almost spiteful the way she won't go away. See a woman who's old enough to know better prove that she isn't. Lots of new jokes, and they're not all about poo. It's hot flush Barbie, possibly more rancid than ever before.
Encroaching middle age has worked wonders for Jenny Eclair.
Not that it has tamed her shamelessly aggressive, foul-mouthed, hard-drinking, chain-smoking persona. Heaven forbid.
But turning 40 has added an extra dimension to her comedy. Rather than being a rancid, bilious bitch, this is now a rancid, bilious bitch who ought to know better.
And that gives the whole act an aspect of pathetic self-delusion - a depth that makes the show so much more than a sweary, hateful cow mouthing off.
The image reaches its peak during a hilarious routine describing a wonderfully undignified brawl outside her daughter's school gates. That such feral behaviour is so obviously unbecoming of a middle-aged Radio 4 regular does not stop Eclair retelling every glorious detail with obvious relish.
It's a shame the whole show isn't quite up to this. Re-establishing her no-nonsense credentials means the first quarter hour or so relies far too heavily on shock value - usually little more than coupling a distasteful adjective with a synonym for vagina for its effect. And sadly, this easy stuff does prove remarkably effective in garnering laughs.
But once she stops banging on about her fanny, things definitely pick up as the extended stories roll out, each filled with brilliantly evocative metaphors and hilariously caustic asides.
The bitch is most definitely back.