I don’t normally indulge in personalized reflective reviews but this occasion merits a change: Menopause The Musical by Christine Harris and HIT productions was eye-opening!
Now while the topic is definitely something I hope not to become too intimate for at least another 20 odd years I do have admit that as one of the younger female members of the audience (which did have quite a healthy sprinkling of men as well) the musical made a lot of sense. Now I know why my mother was so close to losing her marbles. Clearly because Remifin wasn’t available – but also because she didn’t sing about her problems to the tunes of Heat Wave, California Girls and My Guy – at least as far as I know.
The audience were entertained by a rollicking evening – the story so simple: four women meet in a department store arguing over the lingerie sale items (of course) and end up confiding the details of the ‘change’ that is overtaking their lives. From far corners of the female sphere a clucky Dubbo Housewife, cosmetically enhanced Soap star, bra-burning Earth Mother and the super-sonic Power Woman come together to share stories of the most personal nature. Ranging from personal summers (hot flushes) to the eternal ‘tricklin and dripping’ to the weight gains, the memory loss, the failing eye sight – the list looks quite scary when compiled in black and white but for an hour and half, women (and some very brave men) went on a transformational journey to not just being able to talk about this ‘woman’s problem’ but being able to laugh about it.
Charismatic and powerful Andrea Creighton, Jennifer Levy, Michelle Collins and Carolyn Waddell let shine something uniquely special as women – but also as ambassadors of change. Particularly stunning performances were by Michelle Collins as Earth Mother and Carolyn Waddell playing the Power Woman. Waddell, who replaced Maria Mercedes on opening night due to the latter being unable to perform will in most shows only appear for a one-off highly charged scene as a swing performer. Definitely one of the highlights of the show she sings her heart out while negotiating precarious heels – what woman hasn’t nearly teetered over the edge while paying the price of vanity?
Waddell along with Patty Bender are two members of the original production team with Waddell occupying the position of Resident Director and Bender Director/Choreographer. The latter whose touches are funny, moving and insightful reflects a wealth of experience from around the globe and a creative vision that has been well executed by a very talented Australian production team.
The show was a tremendous success and apart from a few lighting cues which seemed to have gone amiss on opening night and some cast following slightly late in their dance sequences, the five women involved in the show on stage are a testimony to the strength of Women – despite having to put up with the ‘men’opause in our lives.