Interview: Grumpy Old Women’s Jenny Eclair – ‘it’s like an end-of-term play at a very odd boarding school’

Grumpy Old Women

A global if somewhat grumpy phenomenon travels across the country

Launched by Jenny Eclair and Judith Holder in 2004, Grumpy Old Women is a bona fide global triumph. There have been TV series, touring shows, DVDs and books while the Grumpy brand has also taken hold across the world with local casts performing the show in the likes of Iceland, New Zealand and Finland. And the latest instalment (Fifty Shades Of Beige) is now here.

‘It’s turned into a real phenomenon,’ states Eclair with pride and excitement. ‘The first touring Grumpy was done in Iceland with an Icelandic cast and it’s incredible what will make women laugh across the world. Even though we can’t speak Icelandic, we know the show inside out and where the jokes are, so we knew exactly what they were laughing at. When you do an Australian Grumpy, there’s no point doing the stuff about weather so you have to tailor it a bit, but I’d say 85% of the material is the same across the board. The Grumpy shows are quite bonkers; they’re like an end-of-term play done by middle-aged women at a very odd boarding school.”

Alongside Susie Blake and Kate Robbins, Eclair will be getting grumpy all the way through until mid-July on this tour. When it comes down to those who attend the shows, Eclair has certainly been spotting a pattern. ‘If I was a lonely middle-age divorced man or widower and looking for a nice jolly lady, I’d come to a Grumpy show and hang out at the bar because there’s loads of them. Often in the crowd there’ll be work parties or a mother-daughter combo: sometimes you’ll look out and see three generations of matching noses.’

Grumpy Old Women is on tour now.

Grumpy Old Women to the Rescue

  • Directed by: Owen Lewis
  • Written by: Jenny Eclair, Judith Holder

Moans and groans from three miserable middle-aged women, based on the successful TV show. Starring Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane and Lizze Roper.