Jenny Eclair, Norwich

JOHN LAWSON She bounds on to the Playhouse stage like Su Pollard on speed – as foul-mouthed and offensive as ever.

JOHN LAWSON

She bounds on to the Playhouse stage like Su Pollard on speed – as foul-mouthed and offensive as ever.

But, truth to tell, Jenny Eclair's Middle Aged Bimbo act is a far cry from the anarchic rants that won her a string of awards a decade or more ago.

Probably because it is very much that – an act.

Eclair admits that it's some while since she's done much stand-up – she's been busy on the West End stage and writing a novel – and, sad to say, it shows.

Humour has progressed some way since she was in her prime and it is no longer enough to be the loud-mouthed northerner telling gynaecology jokes.

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Yes, the routine had its moments and some inspired off-the-wall imagery, but it was its lack of honesty that just wouldn't wash.

Jenny Eclair is just a comedy character telling carefully-scripted stories. The audience never gets a true vision of the real Jenny and it is that vulnerability that helps us warm to a comedian.

There's little point in bleating on about your problems with the ageing

process and the disapointments of girls' nights out on the pull when you are quite clearly a well-adjusted, slim, attractive 40-something mum who has a settled family life in one of the betters parts of south London.

She also makes little real attempt to connect with her audience – even

passing up the chance to berate latecomers or comfort-breakers in favour of clinging to her well-rehearsed lines.

Success has meant Jenny Eclair has moved on – sadly, her comedy has

not.