The menopause isn’t often something to sing and dance about.
But a musical which celebrates this chapter in women’s lives is proving a hit.
Following previous sell-out UK and Irish Tours in 2008, 2010 and early 2016, Menopause the Musical is embarking on a new tour this spring, calling at Sunderland Empire for one night only on May 17.
Bringing to life the show’s memory loss one-liners and innuendo-laden versions of pop classics will be Cheryl Fergison, best known for playing EastEnders favourite Heather Trott; Linda Nolan from The Nolans; Casualty’s Rebecca Wheatley and The Al Murray Show’s Ruth Berkeley.
It tells the tale of four women shopping for lingerie at a Bloomingdale’s sale, who sing 25 songs about chocolate cravings, hot flushes, loss of memory, nocturnal sweats, and sexual predicaments.
“This show won’t change your life or stop you taking your clothes off while watching telly,” says Rebecca.
“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.”
Rebecca acknowledges the menopause can create confusion.
“And who wants to surrender to middle age? Not me. I want to be a thoroughly disgraceful fiftysomething,” she said.
Cheryl Fergison says she loves the very idea of Menopause The Musical.
She said: “This show simply had to be made. It tells you it’s okay to talk about the subject and I’m glad 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.”
Cheryl added “Suddenly, I think I’m sprouting a moustache. I could do Movember (the movement which encourages men to grow moustaches).
“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?”
Speaking about the music, she said: “There are songs about getting older, about your body shape changing.
“And I love the fact this show reminds everyone that the menopause makes you emotional. I’m now tearing up over nothing at all, and I’m not an emotional person.”
Linda Nolan has toured with Menopause for three months in Ireland.
“The timing is great for this show,” she said. “Women just seemed to be desperate for a great night out and enjoy 23 songs, such as I Will Survive, but re-written with comedy lyrics.
“And it doesn’t make light of the menopause, rather it shows you can tackle the likes of 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 okay to be over fifty.’
Linda added: “And if men do come to the show, they will understand why their wife, on occasion, has tried to kill them.”
•Menopause the Musical is at Sunderland Empire on May 17. Tickets are available at the Box Office, from 0844 871 3022 or online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.
We have four tickets to give away so a group of friends can enjoy the show.
To be in with a chance of winning, answer this question: in which soap did Cheryl Fergison play Heather Trott?
Send your answer and contact details on a postcard to Menopause Competition, Katy Wheeler, North East Press, 2nd Floor, Alexander House, 1 Mandarin Road, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton, DH4 5RA. Alternatively, email your answer and contact details, with Menopause in the subject, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date: May 12.