Sunday, August 29, 2010

Menopause the Musical!

Menopause the musical! What a wonderfully rollicking, raucous piece of entertainment! A smoothly crafted celebration and commiseration all rolled into one and then framed by songs that take you back to a time when you knew, absolutely, that menopause was something that only happened to other people. Like your mother.
I went along to the musical on Saturday, along with a couple of friends, and it was great fun from beginning to end. Deep and meaningful? No, not particularly. But fun? Hell, yes. We started by getting into the spirit (literally) with a Hot Flash cocktail, which came in a gorgeously vulgar plastic cocktail glass that had a multi-coloured flashing stem. This was quickly followed by the obligatory lining-up-for-the-loo, a traditional custom for females everywhere. And when a significant amount of said females are of a certain age... well, enough said. I'd paid a visit when I first arrived and been vastly amused by the tumbling, pyramid-pile of free sample incontinence pads on the vanity. My initial 'what the hell' was reiterated three-quarters of an hour later when all that remained was a flat scattering of samples. Giving rise to conversations such as the one in front of me:

Lady in her sixties: Hey look, Joyce. D'you want one?

Joyce: Sure! Shall we grab one for Jan too?

Lady: Good idea! (she grabs a handful and then puts on her glasses to read the instructions, nodding sagely every so often). D'you know, I think we should get some for Ally too. Don't you?

Joyce (with an immediate enthusiasm that speaks volumes about Ally's urinary control): Oh, yes. Absolutely.

Personally it would never occur to me to collect free incontinence pads for friends, and I'm not sure what this says about me. Inconsiderate friend? Selfish? Good pelvic floor muscles? Regardless, I pushed incontinence pads to the back of my mind (there's an image), and sallied forth to enjoy myself. And enjoy myself I did. I only wish I could remember all the songs, each of which sent the audience into fits of laughter. One of my favourites was the scene with Only You, where the singer held the microphone like a... well, let's just say that Good Vibrations set the tone.

I didn't identify with all the issues raised but then I didn't expect to. After all menopause, like all things female, varies dramatically from person to person. Plus I would have liked it to end with a really huge, over-the-top empowering song like I am Woman, which really sucks in the camaraderie of the crowd and then sends it back within an embrace (plus I know all the words). Or perhaps something which reflects the fact that so many women say mid-life is a wonderful time, a time of release, of freedom. But then again the musical is about menopause itself, not mid-life, and I'm probably being petty. Because everywhere I looked women were having a wonderful time, laughing uproariously at even the most silly jokes and then, at the end, getting up on stage to dance joyously along with the closing number. Who cares if it's frivolous and simplistic and oh-my-god, men would never consider laughing about their urinary issues. More fool them. Because you would have been hard-pressed to find a woman without a smile on her face as she left the theatre. And that alone makes it a success.

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