Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Thursday, 10 March 2005
Menopause-The Musical by Jeanie Linders, Feb 10, 2005
Menopause - The Musical by Jeanie Linders Produced by G4 Productions, Lascorp, ICA and McPherson Touring
Where and When: Comedy Theatre, Melbourne, from Feb 10, 2005
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Feb 10, 2005
Menopause - The Musical, written by Jeanie Linders, boasts a title that makes people laugh and wonder how one can write a musical about women's hormones.
Well, it is identification theatre. The audience, mostly women over 55, cheered at every reference to a menopausal symptom and danced on stage for the finale.
They identify with the characters who are all in their 40s or 50s. They are an executive, (Caroline Gillmer, a soap star, (Jane Clifton) a rural housewife, (Deidre Rubenstein) and a hippy. (Susan-Ann Walker OK)
These menopausal women meet in a department store then compare menopausal symptoms in song.
Despite the quality of the writing being limited, there being no narrative, nor any dramatic tension, the show is entertaining to its target audience - and perhaps their husbands.
The set is a wall of department store doors. There is simple 60s choreography and a few costume changes but essentially the show is a series of clever song parodies hooked together with daggy dialogue.
The Australian production is directed by Gary Young and choreographed by Andrew Hallsworth .
The four actors make a meal of the witty songs that puts new words about symptoms to classic tunes.
Gilmer belts out the opening parody to that Soul classic, Chain, Chain, Chain, which transposes into "Change, Change, Change- Change of Life".
There are songs about memory loss, over-eating, lack of fitness, fatness, sex, vibrators, face lifts, cosmetics, incontinence and confusion.
Gilmer sings, "I've got the night sweats baby this evening" and Clifton vamps with, "I'm having a hot flush, a tropical hot flush."
Walker bemoans her sleeplessness to the tune of I Will Survive, singing, " I - I am awake." The audience shrieks.
Husbands not able to cope with the stress of the wife's mood swings are lyrics to the tune of In the Jungle: " In the guest room or on the sofa my husband sleeps tonight."
My favourite was sung to the tune of "Bill" and about anti-depressants: "Pills! I love you so I always will."
Menopause is fun - really daggy and little preachy, but fun.