'Who wants to surrender to middle age?' Not the cast of Menopause the Musical

With humour, honesty and a cracking, 23-song soundtrack, the women behind the show's newest run are reassuring audiences that it's fine to be over 50

What causes women of a certain age to suffer cold sweats, hot flushes, hormones to rage like tsunamis and mood swings that make them as predictable as the weather in Northern Ireland?

No, it’s not watching men’s 100 metres final – it’s the menopause.

But rather than complain about it, why not instead turn this change-of-life experience into a fun filled night at the theatre, complete with great songs, rewritten to perfectly capture the mood?

Three of Ireland's best-loved stars, Katherine Lynch (RTÉ’s Wagons Den), Eastenders mainstay Cheryl Fergison and original girl power group legend Maureen Nolan are uniting for Menopause The Musical, which comes to Derry's Millennium Forum on March 12/13 followed by the MAC, Belfast from March 14-17. And the ladies believe sharing this fun night to be therapy for the soul.

This is Fergison’s fourth tour with Menopause The Musical and for her the timing couldn’t be better.

'This show simply had to be made,' she says. 'It tells you it’s okay to talk about the subject and I’m delighted 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.'

'Suddenly I’m sprouting a moustache. I could do Movember,' she laughs. '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?"'

Fergison explains how Menopause The Musical features songs that connect with her state of mind.

'There are songs about getting older and the inevitability of your body shape changing… Yes, it’s getting rounder,' she says, smiling as she looks down.

'And I love the fact this show reminds everyone that the menopause makes you emotional. I’m not an emotional person but now I am tearing up, all the time, over nothing at all.'

Nolan agrees that the show has come at the right time. 'Women just seemed to be desperate for a great night out,' she says. 'Menopause the Musical entertains with 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 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."'

'And if men do come to the show, they will understand why their wife, on occasion, has tried to kill them,' laughs Lynch.

'This show won’t change your life or stop you taking your clothes off while watching telly,' smiles Nolan. '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,' she adds. '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.'

Fergison reinforces this with her defiant parting words: 'There was a time when women believed that with the arrival of the menopause their attractiveness departed, and sex was a thing of the past. Not now! Who wants to surrender to middle age? Not me. I want to be a thoroughly disgraceful fifty something!'

Menopause the Musical is at the Millennium Forum, Derry~Londonderry on March 12/13. Tickets are £30, to book go to https://www.millenniumforum.co.uk/shows/menopause-the-musical/. For shows at the MAC, Belfast from March 14-17 visit https://themaclive.com/event/menopause-the-musical. Recommended for ages 16+.