Menopause The Musical
put your mobile in the fridge recently? Perhaps
you've forgotten your husband's birthday. Maybe
you were wide awake at three this morning and had
so, it could be - whisper it softly - that you're
entering the silent passage; you're going through
which case, away with the euphemisms: Menopause
The Musical could be just the thing to cheer you
to women in a way that even having children,
being married, getting divorced or losing weight
are not - the menopause unites us. Yet we don't
talk about it.
few media women, such as Germaine Greer and
Woman's Hour presenter Jenni Murray, have broken
the silence with books, but now we can all sing
and dance about it.
show, written by American Jeanie Linders is just
about to open in London. Featuring 25 songs about
the menopause - from Hot Flush, an updated
version of Rod Stewart's Hot Legs, to Stayin'
Awake! Stayin' Awake!, a remake of the Bee Gees
disco hit - they're all tunes anyone over 40
Su Pollard, who plays one of the musical's four
women in mid-life crisis, loves them all.
flushes and the end of your periods are just a
few of the things you go through," says Su,
who became a household name after playing Peggy
Ollerenshaw in Hi-de-Hi and is now -
astonishingly - 57.
chose to take HRT at the onset of her own
menopause but hasn't been immune from all the
you're going through it, you can stand on the
edge of the pavement and not be able to make up
your mind whether to cross or not. You dither.
You feel dizzy and you eat odd things at odd
times of the day. I've put my handbag in the oven
this goes on and nobody talks about it. People
pretend it's not happening, even to their
action starts at a lingerie counter during the
sales. The four women are all interested in the
same black lace bra. As is only natural in the
parallel universe of the musical, they soon break
into song and go from department to department
exchanging stories and songs about their
menopause experiences. They're a varied lot - a
mousey housewife, a career woman, a soap star and
an earth mother - but they're all going through
the same thing.
bodies are behaving in a new and unfamiliar way
which they can't control.
plays a housewife from Rutland, all apologies,
sexual disappointment and self-effacement.
character would like to be Prada but is more
Primark," she says. "I spend a lot of
time clutching my purse to my chest. She doesn't
sound like me, but she's an aspect of many women,
can get so tired and indecisive in the menopause.
You go from being thoroughly in charge to hardly
being able to decide what to do next. But the
menopause is a done deal. You can't get out of
is a Vagina Monologues veteran and feels strongly
that women need to re-write the menopause
have a finale where everyone comes out looking
terrific - we've shopped our way round the store.
So we're saying: 'Yes, we've got mood swings and
we can't remember what we did with the groceries,
but don't we look great?'
long time ago, male doctors and writers gave
women the idea that once your reproductive life
was over, life itself might as well be over. What
was the point of non-reproductive women? And
women with bad symptoms could end up in an
this silence descends and a sort of secret
competition goes on among your friends not to be
the one who goes into the menopause first,"
says Su, who keeps trim with Pilates and brisk
I'm not finished, I'm just hormonally challenged.
And if you come through this without stacking on
loads of weight, you feel liberated and good