In her ebullient new show The B**** is Back, humorist and storyteller Sandra Tsing Loh talks about menopause and the trials and tribulations of women who teeter on the edge of hormone-fuel hysteria while struggling to keep it together as a mom or daughter or spouse.
Loh, a comedienne and longtime KPCC commentator on the frustrations of daily living in Southern California, tackles the issue with wit, perspective and seemingly boundless in-your-face energy. Based on her memoir The Madwoman in the Volvo: My Year of Raging Hormones — which in turn was expanded from a 2011 essay for The Atlantic — her scattershot narrative offers something for all (though admittedly, more for the ladies).
As Loh tells it, her first experience of “the change” took place while she was speeding down the 101 in her litter-ridden Volvo on her way to pick up her daughters at school. Overcome by throbbing sadness over the death of a pet hamster, she pulled to the side of the road. A subsequent chat with a knowing friend established she wasn’t losing her mind, just her ability to make babies.
Delivered quasi-level with the audience in a cabaret style setting, the show offers bits of historical trivia — how menopause was viewed by the Greeks and the Victorians —along with the problems of parenting in today’s world, the madness of trying to park at Trader Joe’s and the efforts of women to combat “weight creep,” that medically euphemistic term for getting fat. And then there’s “ruching,” the not-so-subtle effort to conceal lumps and bulges with strategically designed garments.
One thing Loh’s performance lacks is an edge, as this is a narrative she’s obviously relayed before. But whatever newness is missing from her text Loh makes up for by working the room and improvising with the audience, in an exuberant shattering of the Fourth Wall.
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