Shazia Mirza’s View from The Stand

I spent a month at The Edinburgh Festival and I am still recovering. So are my audience.

Every night I go to bed, I have flashbacks of strange and bad nights that I had there. One recurring dream I have involves a night when my show was over sold and people were crammed in so tight, it was boiling hot. I had sweat dripping from my face and I looked out to see sweat dripping off the faces of the audience too. All of a sudden a woman started screaming in the middle of the show “I’m going through the menopause! Move me quick! I’m having a hot flush, I need to sit by the fan”.

The entire audience moved so that this woman now the colour of beetroot could sit by the fan. The men in the crowd seemed particularly annoyed by this, and a loud simultaneous male tut was heard round the room.

One man put his hand up and said, “I’m going through the menopause too!” Which got a huge laugh and then a random woman shouts out, “That’s your F*****g problem, you men have the menopause every day of the year!”

I intervened, and made sure the ailing woman sat by the fan for the rest of the show. Her legs were wide open, her shirt was undone, and her hairpiece was hanging off her forehead. It was very off putting and I spent the rest of my show looking straight at the exit sign, hoping that hairpiece wouldn’t land on my chest.

Sometimes I wake up from these flashbacks and I can’t figure out weather the dream actually happened or not. In the middle of the day when I’m putting petrol in my car or cleaning the bathroom, I suddenly realise it actually happened, and I have this awful feeling come over me, like the day my mother caught me walking round the house in nothing, but her suspenders.