Julie Poulin and Nancy Durgin star in Footlights Theatre’s “Hot Flash! What a Feelin’!”

The laughs were flowing Tuesday night at the sold-out opening performance of Footlights Theatre’s latest comedy, “Hot Flash! What A Feelin’!” With just a few silly props and a detailed café backdrop, the two-woman cast delivers a series of “Saturday Night Live”-like sketches that keep the audience gushing with laughter.

The show is billed as a comedy “that celebrates women of all ages (and the brave men who love them)” but is particularly geared for menopausal women and all that comes with that life change. Julie Poulin and Nancy Durgin deliver fast-paced repartee as themselves and various characters throughout the 75-minute production. There is no intermission.

Rib-tickling video clips of “I Love Lucy” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and parody shorts are shown on an onstage TV between sketches to keep the laughter coming while the cast takes brief breaks to change.

“The Wizard of Oz” parody is hilarious, and tears of laughter were already running down audience members’ faces by the time the “surgeon” grabbed the pruning shears in the vasectomy skit starring Jeffrey Caron.

It is an interactive show from start to finish, with the show’s stars opening the production from behind a bar, offering water and wine. Many patrons on opening night were reluctant to go onstage, but the offer is real, with a “café donation” plant pot to pay for the libations. It is one of many opportunities to interact directly with the cast, opportunities that often include prizes and always elicit laughter. Highlights include “Trivia Pursuit” and “PMS Pyramid,” with audience members gleefully playing along.

“Playing With Product” was a riot as the ladies of the Hot Flash Café demonstrated creative uses for leftover feminine products. A man in the audience was a good sport as they crowned him with a tampon toupee that made him look like George Washington in his white wig.


Poulin and Durgin are quick-witted, delivering jokes, quips and jabs with a natural ease. Many of the jokes are PG-13, and all are best seen, rather than read, to be fully appreciated.

Poulin delivers an amusing sketch called “Mrs. Rogers’ Neighborhood” that features the segment “Mrs. Rogers’ Banned Book Club.” Those who grew up on Curious George and Dr. Seuss will appreciate the comical book title alterations. She has perfectly timed delivery as she elaborates on the titles, reminding the audience that “any banned book is a book worth reading.”

The show’s creator and director, Michael J. Tobin, adds to the fun, popping in at various times, including an appearance as an aging Magic Mike.

Footlights Theatre’s “Hot Flash! What a Feelin’!” is a feel-good production that helps laugh away troubles. As one of the signs in the café boasts, “laughter is the best medicine.” Take time to read the numerous plaques in the meticulously crafted set, as there are many comical gems that nicely set the mood for the play. Although the show will tickle the funny bone of middle-aged women most, there are laughs to be had for all adults.

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. Contact her at: aprilhboyle@yahoo.com.
Twitter: @ahboyle

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