WHAT CAUSES women of a certain age to suffer cold sweats, hot flushes, hormones to rage like tsunamis, and unpredictable mood swings? It is not watching George Clooney or listening to Michael Buble - it is the menopause.
This change-of-life experience is the basis of the international smash hit sensation, Menopause The Musical, which comes to the Town Hall Theatre for four performances on March 26 and 27. This show has thrilled countless audiences around the world since its 2001 premiere in Florida, including multiple sell-out Irish tours.
A hilarious celebration of women and 'The Change', Menopause The Musical is an all-singing, all-dancing comedy bringing together four women at a department store sale, who on first appearance have nothing in common. However, the sale of a black lace bra soon stimulates comical female heart-to-hearts on topics such as sudden flushes, night sweats, memory loss, chocolate binges, not enough sex, too much sex, and plastic surgery.
This latest production boasts a ‘Fab Four’ cast of Katherine Lynch, from RTÉ’s Wagon’s Den; Eastenders’ Cheryl Fergison; The Nolans' Maureen Nolan; and Rebecca Wheatley from Casualty, Loose Women, and numerous West End musicals.
For Menopause The Musical, writer and lyricist Jeanie Linders took classic pop songs of youthful passion and wittily reshaped them to reflect women’s mature experience, exploring the ways in which female bodies, emotions, and spirits, change with ‘The Change’. ‘My Guy’ becomes ‘My Thighs’, ‘The Great Pretender’ mourns the loss of memory and having to fake being able to remember an acquaintance’s name. ‘A Sign Of The Times’ becomes ‘A Song Of The Times’, which recounts how, in middle age, a woman suddenly realises she has become her mother.
'What’s really great about this show is that women come up to you and say ‘Thank you for making it OK to be over 50''
For Cheryl Fergison, who was a regular on Eastenders as Heather Trott, this is her fourth tour with Menopause The Musical and the timing could not be better. “This show simply had to be made,” she declares. “It tells you it’s OK to talk about the subject and I’m delighted because I’m going through the menopause myself at the moment. You see, until you do you have no idea it’s such a big thing. Suddenly I’m sprouting a moustache. I could do Movember [the movement which encourages men to grow moustaches to raise awareness and funds for cancer research]. I’ve never been one for creams, but I’m looking at them now and thinking ‘Is this going to make me firmer? Is this going to take my beard off?’”
Menopause The Musical, says Cheryl, features songs that connect with her state of mind. “There are songs about getting older and the inevitability of your body shape changing and, yes, mine is getting rounder," she says. "I love the fact this show reminds everyone that the menopause makes you emotional. I’m not an emotional person but now I am tearing up, all the time, over nothing at all.”
'Having a group of women in one hall all able to laugh at the changes women go through during menopause is a massively uplifting sensation'
Maureen Nolan is just as enthusiastic “The timing is great for this show,” she agrees. “Women just seemed to be desperate for a great night out. And it doesn’t make light of the menopause, rather it shows you can tackle the raging hot sweats with humour and honesty. I certainly don’t mind anyone knowing I have to have fans in my dressing room, even when it’s cold. But what’s really great about this show is that women come up to you and say ‘Thank you for making it OK to be over 50'."
“This show won’t change your life or stop you taking your clothes off while watching telly, but it will guarantee you a great night out. And having a group of women in one hall all able to laugh at the changes women go through during menopause is a massively uplifting sensation. And here’s the thing; the menopause stage isn’t all bad. By the time they hit it women know so much more about themselves. They have a developed confidence, knowledge and a lovely, healthy, cynicism about life.”
Cheryl Fergison concludes: “There was a time when women believed that with the arrival of the menopause their attractiveness departed, and sex was a thing of the past. Not now! Who wants to surrender to middle age? Not me. I want to be a thoroughly disgraceful fifty-something!”
Menopause The Musical is on Tuesday March 26 and Wednesday 27, with two shows each day, the first at 6pm and the second at 8.30pm. Tickets are available from 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie The show is not suitable for under 16s.