Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown.

So today has been a bit of a rubbish day and tonight we get a seriously needed pick-me-up in the company of a self-professed professional, grumpy old woman. Bringing her hit tour ‘How To Be A Middle Aged Woman (Without Going Insane)’, the younger than Madonna, crisp and wine eating Jenny Eclair is here tonight, at Dudley Town Hall.

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A friendly greeting from the staff and the lovely Nick on the box office, and we’re taking our seat in this little gem of a venue in the middle of the Black Country. Tonight’s show is very much for women of a certain age. Of which the audience tonight in the delectable Dudley Town Hall is mostly made up of. Well certainly predominantly female, with  few ‘other halves dragged out.’ A chair and table on the stage, with a couple of pull-ups (which become useful props)  an announcement that she’s here: “Hello ladies and more ladies and the very few gentlemen….”she bounds onto the stage akin in bra and knics… ala said promo poster, leaping around the stage giving it some. “Hello…..” to the audiences welcoming woof whistles. “Welcome to my midlife crisis. Have you ever had that dream when you come on stage in no clothes….”

She dresses on stage, and starts to explain the definition of a  middle aged woman; of bodily functions (or lack of control) as she sneezes. What women do. Of a certain age. She’s grumpy, and hyper – and indeed whitty – the last time she relaxed, she explains, was under anesthetic. Tonight’s gig will feature 45mins (then break for beer and loo) and then another 35.

Bunting. (We’ve all been presented with a triangular piece of paper) or as she refers to it;  c**ting bunting. Later she’ll be asking the audience to contribute to her box of said bunting (placed on the stage), by putting a message on the rear of what really annoys us most. Mix of rude and clever. For example:  “F***ing teenagers.” (No not literally!). “My mother insisting I know who she is talking about when I left home 30 years ago…”

So the promo picture for her tour. She went to the photographer’s studio with no intention of getting her kit off. Viewpoint of any men in the audience. Well if they like said image she suggests they should be led away. And her female friends have responded in dismay. The predominant reason why? Bra and pants don’t match. That she tells us is a crime against womankind. “What if you get run over… ?”

She has a useful tool. A pointy stick, which she uses to great effect (after demonstrating 101 uses for said stick) to point out her observations of the photo of herself. The first set bounces on at a witty and quick fire speed; she got her knees from dad. Er thanks dad – they belong in vegetable plot. What she had a fascination of as a teenagers (her parents drinks table) and now become her 88 year old mother’s drugs drawer. Her mother wanted to get an iPad. Cos her friends has one. “An 88 year old woman to the internet. What could go wrong…” The rant continues. On seeing  three year olds with iPads…. “Er – when we were kids it was look and not touch anything that cost more than 50p….”

The use of ‘hot’ women. A new superhero:  “Menopause woman!” Because not only could she save the world from anything with heat – she can spot bulls**t a million miles off!  From Gwyneth Paltrow to baby talc, to the world of menopause, she bounces on a great speed. Her other half, Jeff is 68, and apparently comes from Dudley; he’s a legend with flat pack furniture in more ways than one….

Break to get our breath (and alcohol and toilet), round 2 here we go. Comments submitted into the c***ing bunting box come first. “When guests don’t use a coaster”. “Wee escaping with every bodily function”. “Men smirking when you reverse park”.”People gobbling in the street”. “Thinking  outside the box –  not in a f***ing box!” [Rant]. And the subject matter rolls on, with Eclair’s take on each comment, from farts, to kids, managers who are too stupid to know they are stupid, cardies and bat wings and “Why did I think having children in their 40s was a good idea…” Segment completed to massive round of applause.

So. The myths of getting old. She tells the younger ladies in the audience that age is not catching. Humming theme tune to The Archers and shining an apple on your blouse. The inability to giggle – now you cackle. And snort.  Your men; now wearing clothes that make them look like they have a boat. Forgetting stuff. Being patronised with that remarkably condescending comment….. ‘ohhh…good for you.” 

The middle aged woman crisis takes main stage – she is a 57 year old woman! The changes to her body, and bodily functions, the mood swings. She is a full in mood board. As shown in coloured diagram. Weeping pathetic. Anger – like a shot of cocaine to the bloodstream. Cellulite. Dry scaly shin. Can’t wear jeans anymore. The moment you join the National Trust. Car insurance  – it’s now as cheap it’s ever been. And you never ever have to worry  about what you look like in a bikini (anymore). The craft hormone -Knitting. Her own dog. A she raises a tiny knitted dachshund to the audience crossed with a seal, she announces. And the pom-pom. Set complete with  said rather large pom-pom on her head…

Jenny Eclair is whitty funny, frenetic and a blast. We laughed and giggled or cackled as the case maybe, throughout the set. Her tour has been extended and goes on a few weeks. Catch her while you can….


Dudley Borough Halls are renamed and rebranded – covering Dudley Stourbridge and Halesowen, look out for some great upcoming gigs – including Rich Hall’s Hoedown,  Gary Delaney, Milton Jones, Matt Forde, Lee Nelson, Jethro, Jason Manford and the award winning David Baddiel – My Family: Not The Sitcom. Find out more by visiting boroughhalls.co.uk and keep up on the latest news on social media – follow them on Facebook and Twitter @boroughhalls.

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