Birds of a Feather star Lesley Joseph is appearing at Doncaster Dome on Saturday night in a show called Hot Flush!
Here she talks about the show and her TV alter ego, Dorien.
Q: What appealed to you about starring in the touring production of Hot Flush!?
A: I’ve done it twice before and I just couldn’t resist doing it again. It has gone down so well with audiences. It’s the only show I’ve ever done where on the first night we overran by 15 minutes because there were so many laughs. Of course, that could have just been me overplaying it! It’s a hybrid show – it’s got music, drama, stand-up and revue. But the main thing is that it’s very, very funny.
Q: Why do you think audiences respond so well?
A: It strikes a chord because it’s about menopausal women and a lot of women identify with that. The Vagina Monologues started a trend for bringing in an audience who might not have been to the theatre before and Hot Flush! is merely continuing that.
Q: What do you think the show offers to an audience?
A: Its sense of humour is very near the knuckle and that really appeals. One of the characters has a moment with a Rampant Rabbit and you don’t get much more near the knuckle than that! It’s part of a genre of theatre that connects with hormonal housewives and hen parties. They want to leave their troubles behind and come out for a real laugh.
Q: You play Myra in Hot Flush! Can you describe her?
A: Myra is middle-aged and frustrated. Her husband has gone off with a bimbo, and so, like a lot of women her age, she’s trying to find a new life for herself. She’s wisecracking but also vulnerable. You have to let the audience see different layers to a character. Myra is in this gang of four women who are going through everything together. By the end, you see them singing and dancing together.
Q: Which part of the show do you enjoy most?
A: There’s a section in the middle which feels almost like stand-up. I talk to the audience and pick on someone in the front row. I would never want to be a straight stand-up but I love doing it within the parameters of the show. Hot Flush! ticks all the boxes for me. It gives me my stand-up and my musical fix for the year.
Q: You obviously have a real love of theatre?
A: Absolutely. I’m a theatre girl – I grew up loving it. I love standing in the wings waiting to go on and seeing the scenery change. I used to do very serious, kosher acting, but then I went down the comedy route. That’s top of the tree for me now.