‘I’ll have a hot flush or two on stage - to be authentic’

Linda Nolan, Mary Byrne, Niamh Kavanagh and Sue Collins who star in Menopause: The Musical.
Linda Nolan, Mary Byrne, Niamh Kavanagh and Sue Collins who star in Menopause: The Musical.

As she struts her stuff on stage at the Millennium Forum next week as part of the hit show ‘Menopause: The Musical’ former X-Factor contestant Mary Byrne will be enjoying the final flushes of her own glorious change of life.

“When I take a hot flush on stage, it’s genuine,” the 55 year old laughed, “And I think women appreciate that. When I’m singing about the menopause, I’m going through it there and then - shiny sweat on stage and all.”

Five years after her appearance on the TV talent show plucked her from the check outs at her local Tesco in Dublin, Mary Byrne is, she said, ‘happy, content and doing things she never thought she would’.

Although the ten week Irish tour of ‘Menopause: The Musical’ is not the first time Mary has graced the stage, the production of the sell out show has pushed her out of her comfort zone - and she is loving every minute.

“It has been fun, tiring, crazy and a real eye-opener into the real world of show business,” Mary said of the tour, which kicked off in Kilkennny last Thursday.

“We’ve been working six days a week, rehearsing from 10-6pm, throwing in a few late rehearsals and learning new lyrics to songs we already know, which can be hard.

“On top of that, I’ve had to learn to dance. Now, I like to bop about to music - but I’ve never had to do full choreographed routines before!”

In the show Mary plays an ageing hippy - who is “a bit ditsy” - “I think it works in my favour a bit. If I miss a step with the other girls, it looks like my character is just being her usual ditsy self,” Mary laughed.

And the laughs come thick and fast in the show which has been playing to sell out audiences all around Ireland.

“The material is very funny,” Mary said, “and when women hear it, they can relate to it. But more than that, it empowers them a bit to laugh at the changes they go through in their own lives.

“They learn that the menopause is not the end of the road for them, but the start of a new chapter - and it’s far from all bad.”

Mary is joined on stage by a host of Ireland’s best loved performers including Niamh Kavanagh, Linda Nolan and Sue Collins.

“Each of the women go on their own journeys - as they pass through the menopause and we see them blossom and change into who they are.

“By the end of the show, the audience are totally with the women and get to their feet to applaud. It’s remarkable.”

And Mary is a prime example of a woman who life is only starting as her “change of life” progresses. “I gave up smoking two years ago, which has been great. I’ve lost about two stone. I feel great - happy in who I am.” ‘Menopause: The Musical’ will be staged at at the Forum on October 20 and 21.