Tickling That Taboo

Ahead of her March shows, funny girl Anne Gildea reveals the thinking and drinking that created How To Get The Menopause & Enjoy It.

From the award-winning, jet-setting, spangle-sporting Nualas to her solo shows, books and IFTA-nominated feature film, Anne Gildea knows her funny.

And she knows that comedy is often tragedy plus time.

As anyone who has looked at Father Ted or read the Bible will tell you.

Keen at this point in her career to talk “about all things female and middle-aged“, for Gildea’s latest show, How To Get The Menopause & Enjoy It, the Manchester-born, Dublin-based writer and comedienne takes on one that time in life when women get the wrong kind of smoking hot body.

Ahead of her Friday, March 10th and Saturday 11th return to The Whale, we asked the bould Anne to reveal just what tickles her funny bone…

From when I was a little kid I dreamed of being in ‘Show Biz’; sequins and silks, feathers and champagne on the chaise longue when a glam chap bursts through the elegant doors in the early AM with the first edition papers shouting, “Darling, you’re a hit!”…

The concept was low on practicality, high on escapism. I just needed somewhere a world away from the wellies, the turf, the rain, the bullocks and the mucky gaps I grew up with in rural Sligo. Meanwhile, the only performance experience I was getting was singing to indifferent chickens down the haggard.

It wasn’t until I moved to London in 1987, after doing a degree in Dublin, that I realised I simply had to be on stage. https://ignitefitness.ie/I’ve pretty much been a full time writer/performer ever since, doing everything in those early days from theatre-in-education, street theatre, cabaret, performance art in nightclubs, and that other big C – comedy.

I started on the London circuit in 1989 with two other girls in a sketch trio we called Doris Karloff. That inevitably led to doing stand-up, followed by a scholarship to drama college in London (ALRA), after which I moved back to Dublin, got a break as a writer/performer on a twice-weekly live telly show on RTE called The Gerry Ryan Tonight Show, and then an even bigger break when Sue Collins, Tara Flynn and I came together to form The Nualas.

The whole sequined-wellies, farm-girl super-group vibe of The Nualas, was, in a funny way, all I’d ever wanted. Through multiple line-ups and a few stops and starts The Nualas had an amazing innings. We toured everywhere from New York to Limerick, meeting everyone from Prince Andrew to Twink along the way.

We finally hung up our shiny boots just before the pandemic hit. By then in my early 50s, and with a million other ‘showbizzy’ things under my belt, I thought, maybe it’s time to do something sensible. But in flash it was 1988 all over again! I just had to ‘put on a show’! So I wrote How to Get the Menopause and Enjoy It. It opened on Valentine’s Day in The Viking Theatre, Clontarf, and, darling, it was a hit! We sold out and extended! People said things like ‘This is the funniest show I’ve ever seen!’ and ‘I cried laughing!’. True!

It’s great to be back at The Whale after last year’s sell-out shows – and boy, is it wonderful to be back in the glittery saddle of showbiz, riding around the country on the pizzazzy pony of entertainment.

The goal: make people wet their pants about the menopause. The result: so far, so good!

Anne Gildea’s How To Get The Menopause & Enjoy It is at The Whale on Friday, March 10th and Saturday 11th.




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