Mary Byrne and her musical Menopause

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Left, Sue Collins, Linda Nolan, Richie Hayes who directs, Mary B and Niamh Kavanagh in a royal flush for this nationwide tour
Left, Sue Collins, Linda Nolan, Richie Hayes who directs, Mary B and Niamh Kavanagh in a royal flush for this nationwide tour

SHE blew the socks off ‘The X-Factor’ until the public vox blew her out in the semi-final. Since 2010, Ballyfermot’s Mary Byrne achieved a record deal with Sony, a UK No. 1 with Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, has two albums recorded and performed for the Queen here in Ireland.

Not bad, not bad at all for the Dub who arrives in Limerick for two nights with a new production of ‘Menopause the Musical’. Her name is up in lights with Linda Nolan of The Nolan Sisters, Niamh Kavanagh who won Eurovision and Sue Collins of The Nualas, this warm, funny woman remaining attached to her roots. “I’ll never leave Ballyfermot. Everyone knows me here, all my friends, my family are here and it’s a nice feeling, to be taken care of”.

All the more when in Byrne’s un-filtered way, she reveals that “by statistics I have another year to go to see out the menopause. On stage I sweat terribly, the body is moving non-stop. The girls are great to me and helpful and Belinda Murphy, the choreographer, knows I have arthritis in my knees, everyone knows it.

“Although I’m working hard, she tells me to sit it out now and then.

“I’m losing weight, am keen to keep up and I have way more energy than I have ever had in my life. Energy leaves you energised”.

Yet she is a gifted, controlled singer, Clear about the lack of acting in her background she acknowledges producer Robert C Kelly for his pursuit of contract, first in 2010  and successfully this year.

Sue Collins and Niamh Kavanagh  in rehearsal
Sue Collins and Niamh Kavanagh in rehearsal

“I am playing a hippy, a 55 year-old woman who lives on a farm with –  not even her husband, she is ‘living in sin’. Sh is a bit dippy but she’s free and she’s fun. The clothes are horrendous on me, clothes I wore 20 years ago to stuff like ‘Lindisfarne’.”

Reader, how can we not love Mary Byrne?

The musical’s premise is “four completely different women meet, it could be in any big department story in Dublin, and we are all on our phones and keep meeting each other. The menopause is what we all have in common – the hunger pangs, the sweats, bad sleeps, it’s dealt with in an open, funny way”.

Much singing and dancing illustrate the terrors, with director Richie Hayes, pantomime king, wreaking plenty of laughs.

Book for October 27 and 28, 8pm shows on www.uch.ie