REVIEW: Dry Season, Rua Arts (Canada Water Theatre)

Having reviewed a production about motherhood and post-natal depression last week, it feels appropriate that our latest review features another taboo topic affecting 50% of the population. Written and performed by Kat Lyons (they/them), Dry Season is a spoken word production offering a humorous and informative exploration of premature menopause.

Inspired by Lyons’ own experience of menopause at age 39, Dry Season combines poetry, physical theatre, music and animations to create a unique performance piece. Informative and inspiring, it manages to strike a neat balance between being relatable while still unashamedly reflecting Lyons’ personal story. Many in the audience, regardless of gender, will recognise Lyons’ reflections on the frustration of calling the GP at 8am every morning only to be told that there are no appointments available (and then patronised or faced with bleak medical terminology such as “premature ovarian failure” when you eventually manage to see someone).

Image credit: Suzi Corker

Opening and closing with powerful spoken word about the women we encounter in fairytales, Dry Season aims to reclaim the narrative by sharing a story that rarely makes it into the media (other than in the form of misogynistic jokes). Between these bookends, Lyons utilises a range of different techniques to convey the fears, frustration and isolation of their menopausal experience.

Some might find the form of the piece a little disjointed, as Lyons switches from jogging to lecturing to loop pedal, but it’s a perfect embodiment of their overriding message that real human experiences are not neatly bundled into a crowd-pleasing story with a beginning, middle and end.

Lyons is admirably unafraid of awkward pauses, allowing the audience to sit with their discomfort. They also dealt incredibly well with technology problems on Thursday night; although clearly unintended, there was something very apt about watching someone navigate an alternative route through their well-laid plans.

Overall, Dry Season is a brave and thought-provoking piece of theatre that shines an essential spotlight on an issue that is too often consigned to the shadows. Period.

Dry Season played at Canada Water Theatre on 9 March 2023. We received a complimentary press ticket.

To continue the conversation, check out the Menopause Cafe, an international charity that wants the whole world talking about menopause.

Image credit: Suzi Corker