'Menopause the Musical' aims to flush out HRT sisterhood

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The Independent Culture

When Jeanie Linders reached middle age, she suffered a hot flush that was to change her life. It inspired Menopause the Musical.

The show she wrote and produced has been seen by 8.7 million women in nine countries since it premiered in Florida six years ago. Now it is coming to Britain.

Following in the wake of The Vagina Monologues and Grumpy Old Women, which have both attracted big female audiences, Menopause the Musical will open on 27 March at the Shaw Theatre.

Su Pollard, former star of Hi Di Hi! heads the cast in a production which adapts songs such as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" to the perils of night sweats, memory loss, chocolate binges and insufficient sex.

Linders said 95 per cent of her audiences werewomen, though some brought their husbands or children "to make them understandwhat they're going through". She added: "I think people relate to what's on stage because we laugh at things when we're really laughing at ourselves. It's our version of HRT [hormone replacement therapy], humour relief therapy."

Linders, now 58, ran an advertising agency and was a travel writer until the hot flush that propelled her into theatre. "I only ever had two hot flushes but this one happened to be when I was dressed to the nines for a night out," she recalled.

Finding herself trying to cool herself in the refrigerator and singing Rod Stewart songs, she decided there might be potential in the scenario. "Most women know intuitively what every other woman is facing with the onset of the menopause," she said. "But when they are in a theatre with hundreds of women and they're all shouting, 'That's me!' they know what they are experiencing is normal. They call it a sisterhood."