‘Menopause’ a light-hearted poke at women’s worst nightmare

“Menopause the Musical” — just the title of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s latest production no doubt evokes a response from audiences, but at least there’s no mystery about what you’re getting yourself into when you buy a ticket.

The show is every bit as silly and ridiculous as you’d expect of a musical based on women’s worst rite of passage — and light-hearted enough you don’t feel badly laughing along at others’ misery.

There’s no real storyline; the show exists essentially as a song cycle, with recognizable numbers from the Baby Boomer era parodied to include lyrics about hot flashes, night sweats and more.

“Puff, my God, I’m draggin,'” was among the most clever tunes.

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The entirety of the show takes place in a department store, with the changing of scenes signaled by little more than a blackout accompanied by a disembodied voice announcing the ladies’ arrival at the next floor.

With only a four-person cast, ensemble chemistry is a must, especially considering the entire cast is on stage for the majority of the 90-minute show.

The material, with mostly sing-along-type numbers with little meaningful dialogue and no character development, doesn’t really encourage standout performances, a weakness of the show.

But Beef & Boards’ lineup packs at least one powerhouse performer — Donna J. Huntley steals the show nearly every time she’s on stage. As the otherwise unnamed “professional woman,” Huntley shines, both vocally and in stage presence.

Still, it’s clear the cast has fun with the show and one another, with some of the women having played various roles in the production as it’s toured the country over the years.

And there’s room for audience participation, too. The cast makes several sweeps through the crowd — so if you’re playful, you’ll get an even better show. They pick on women and men alike, with the latter interactions being some of the most amusing of the night.

And a call-out for anyone to join them on stage awaits you at the end of the show, which makes for an upbeat finish.

“Menopause the Musical” isn’t thought-provoking or revealing; it’s fun for fun’s sake, and if you go into the performance with the right attitude, you’ll enjoy the show.

Noelle Steele is editor of the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3232 or nsteele@greenfieldreporter.com.