What happens when you trap almost 500 middle-aged women into a confined space for a couple of hours?
Wherever you are on the oestrogen spectrum, you’d be inclined to think that the outcome would be, to say the least, tetchy. Especially if some of the women had had their gin confiscated.
But you’d be wrong.
I learned this last weekend when Fionaoutdoors and I worked out that the crowd of women at the Beacon in Greenock was, in fact, a well organised and surprisingly fast moving queue for the bar.
Going to see Menopause the Musical had seemed like a good idea months ago after a hormone-fuelled whinge-fest, but on a damp weekend night when we’d both got other things demanding our attention, Fiona and I were both privately nursing doubts about the wisdom of the enterprise.
First, we had our bags searched. I rejected the notion that the theatre was under threat from a terrorist disguised as a forty or fifty-something woman on a very rare night out when I realised the doorman was looking for booze.
Illicit bottles were removed, labelled with their owner’s name and kept until after the show, whereupon they would be returned. Meantime, thirsty women had to wait in line for their tipple.
There was so much potential for things to turn nasty. Plastic glasses, in-your-face sponsorship, the up-and-down while the audience took their seats, then left them to go to the loo, then took them again.
However, a couple of highly entertaining hours later and we were delighted we’d bothered.
The duke-box-style show took the private misery of women ‘of a certain age’ and set it to toe-tapping music. Chain, Chain, Chain becomes, obviously, Change, Change, Change. My Husband Sleeps Tonight (A Wimoweh) and, encouraging battery sales, Good Vibrations.
Even writing it down, I can see that it doesn’t sound great, but it was. Fun, energetic and, above all, forgiving.
The message loud and clear is that you’re not alone in the misery, irritability and dampness. And all the rest of the hormonal horrors that come with the menopause.
And, yes, in case you wondered, it was hot in there.
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