Throw a dart at the globe, and you’ll find a culture currently in some form of crisis (hit America and get the jackpot or booby prize – which, you can decide). So, who can we turn to, tossing our Latte-clad hands into the air while praying for salvation? We cannot turn to the politicians, nor the church, and we can’t even rely on the BBC. An eternal force – three hatchet-faced prophets – await patiently in the bar to step-in and save us from damnation: the Grumpy Old Women.
Is there any finer profession than being grumpy? It’s certainly what some of us aspire to. For others, they seek retirement from the profession. After all, being a full-time grump is suspiciously tiring. When they are needed though, Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane and Lizzie Roper rise to the banner cry and strap on their condiment belts.
Entering the King’s theatre, paradise awaits us – staged in a simple retreat where Caribbean wonder meets Benidorm ‘charm’. Violent neon colours litter the beach, props galore and a few costumes change for our ladies are in store for us. Each of the trios takes turns with sketches, stand-up or bouncing off one another in a musical chutzpah. All are witty and creative in their own right, but Keane in particular manages to just remind us that, even as a man in your twenties, you’re another grumpy old woman at heart (even if you do have a hipster beard). Her range of physical comedy is a marvel, lifting what is otherwise a flat, linear script.
The life of a “grumpy old woman” is akin to that of the pantomime. There’s a great deal of flatulence, innuendo and usually at least one man in a dress. Something this production also shares with a panto is how much the audience howls at mishaps, flubs and off-script banter. With the tremendous talent evident in these three women, what we truly relish and desperately want is honest chat. Instead, we have to make do with a forced script: as a result, the the brutal honesty of a grumpy old woman feels diluted, especially when slips grace us with side-splitting natterings from Eclair.
On occasion references can feel direly outdated, some stale jokes revived from old televised specials. It can’t be said whether their inclusion is aimed at an older generation with whom these gags might strike familiarity, or if they’re just dusted off. Either way, they come off as aged, predictable and borderline chauvinistic. The more honest jabs at the gender pay gap, health visits and personal touches, however, make up for these in the long run.
So, be grumpy, don’t take all the shit the world throws at you on the chin. Strap on your cardigan, fight back and link arms with these women. For being miserable is an art form; it isn’t all about resting bitch face. You can still enjoy life while embracing what you love and not letting anyone tell you otherwise. Now, pass the rosé.