Apologies for the delay…extenuating circumstances have been at play!! ( poet, know it, etc)
Menopause the musical. Fairly self explanatory isn’t it?? I myself am not yet a woman of ‘a certain age’ but have heard family members complaining about ‘the change’ and so braced myself for a few slightly hysterical hours! In my usual slap dash fashion I didn’t do much investigation prior to rocking up at the theatre, but had seen some positive reviews for MTM, and was pretty keen to see it for myself.
The theatre was packed to the rafters with middle-aged women, and a handful of slightly sheepish men bringing up the rear. Spotted in the audience was the lovely Gillian Taylforth, watching fellow Eastender Cheryl Fergison – we do love a celebrity in Aylesbury!
I was a little confused at the beginning, when the TV at the side of the stage began showing an advert while the house lights were still partially up. The action then began on stage (again with the house lights partially up) with the foursome Linda Nolan, Cheryl Fergison, Rebecca Wheatley and Ruth Berkeley. It wasn’t quite clear to me whether or not the women were meant to all know each other already, or if their friendship formed through the mutual hatred of hot flushes as they perused the shop floor.The musical predominantly remained within one space, but scenes changed to reflect different floors and sections of the outlet. All the women had very different characters and were a great deal of fun, I just wish I had been able to learn a little more about their lives and backgrounds. Once the house lights were switched off finally it was far easier to concentrate on the action at hand. Fergison provided some fantastic comedic timing, and in my opinion was the glue holding MTM together. The women clearly had explosive chemistry on stage and were a truly lovable bunch. The first half was pretty funny and I enjoyed the songs, but there was a lack of robust story line and the scene changes didn’t have much purpose.
By the interval I was wondering if there could possibly be any more ways to lament overheating and soggy bedsheets, but was pleased to find the second half the equivalent of a sheet change and large glass of iced water. The songs offered more variety, and the humour took a turn for the better – lingerie and buzzy best buds! If anything I wish the gals had stepped up the sexy talk and bedroom jokes! The vocals were fantastic throughout, although unfortunately at times the microphone volume was a little overwhelming so some of the high notes got lost amongst the loud music. I really enjoyed the development of the characters and the camaraderie MTM evoked amongst the audience – I just wish this had been more evenly distributed during the entire performance.
I would recommend MTM to any woman going through ‘the change’, it’s the theatre equivalent of a few hours amongst good friends. Plenty of laughs, jokes and a few red cheeks…definitely a watch with a large pinot grigio and a bag of maltesers!