Musical explores new territory

The four players and their problem
(Canscene) — After The Vagina Monologues and that show about the male appendage, one might expect Menopause Out Loud, which hit Toronto recently, also to approach the edge where taste is concerned.

Instead we get a fast-paced musical romp, expertly performed and directed that has the audience laughing along with it, and occasionally joining in the songs. At the finale, they’re up on stage.

The musical is at the Capitol Event Theatre for an indefinite run and though largely ignored by major critics is likely to enjoy success via word-of-mouth.

This, quite frankly, is a light hearted treatment of what to many women is a difficult cross to bear but at the premiere of the show last month the audience, composed mainly of middle -aged women, found much to laugh at and at the finale rose as one to an ovation; after which they were invited by the cast to come up on stage and dance.

The premise of Menopause Out Loud is simple. Four women —baby boomers — meet in a department store and after vying for the same brassiere find they have something in common: the menopause. Whereupon they spend the next 90 minutes in voicing their mutual problem and finding ways to cope with it.

The four players are a housewife, a former flower child, a soap star and a power woman played respectively by Rose Ryan, Nicole Robert, Jayne Lewis and Cynthia Jones. The first three are Canadian, and Cynthia Jones is an American. A fifth, is available as an alternative performer. All acquit themselves beautifully in characterization as they perform with body language to match the songs, all parodies on pop ditties. We’re Having a heat Wave becomes We’re Having a Hot Flash and Staying Alive is Staying Awake.

With book and lyrics by Jeanie Linders — with a grateful nod to composers from Irvin Berlin and Burt Bacharach to Pete Yarrow — Menopause Out Loud has been playing in cities across the United States for the last four years. It seems likely the Canadian production directed by Michael Larsen will enjoy a similar success both in Toronto and in other centres.

“We shall overcome!”


One Response to “Musical explores new territory”

  1. Sara Says:

    I saw this show in June. At 22 years-old I was sitting among some 300 women twice (and plus) my age. At first I thought I would feel out of place, but within moments of show starting I was hooked. It was like watching my mother…my grandmothers…aunts…some of the most influencial women in my life on stage. It reminded me of the time my Mom stood infront of the air-conditioner with every portable fan in the house blowing on her. Or when my Grandma and I were talking and she forgot what we were talking about.

    It also showed what I have (not so much!) to look forward to in the future. Menopause is another step in life that, as a woman, I will not be able to escape. But, seeing this show in my early 20’s has shown me that I won’t be alone when I do go through this.