Comic double-act shows middle-aged women how to grow old disgracefully

Flip Webster and Maggie Bourgein, comedy duo Women of an Uncertain Age

Flip Webster and Maggie Bourgein, comedy duo Women of an Uncertain Age - Credit: Archant

Age isn’t something to be feared but to be embraced and laughed at, according to comedy duo Women of an Uncertain Age.

Seasoned stage and screen actresses Flip Webster and Maggie Bourgein are a double act in the spirit of French and Saunders; laugh out loud sketches songs and self mockery.

“We’re supposed to be women of a certain age, whatever that means, middle aged, over 45, we’re saying we’re not going to be put in that box,” says Webster. “Because we’re still living and interested and interesting.”

Bantering about their age - “We’re in our 60’s,” says Bourgein. “Flip’s actually 54, a bit younger, but I look younger,”

“Rubbish,” retorts Webster.

What they do agree on is that middle age starts later, the “unofficial age is 55”.

“Most women are at their most attractive in their roundabout 40’s, it’s kind of like the bloom on the plum before it goes wrinkly,” says Webster

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“It’s all a fallacy you’re not attractive in your 40’s, you’re probably at your most attractive because you’re confident so hang on to that,” adds Bourgein.

“I still go out dancing with my friends and we’re like magnets for these young guys, though they’re probably thinking it’s grab a granny night. When you’re dancing some of the other young girls off the floor, you’re sending a little message – don’t write your mother off, she’s still got life in her.”

It’s not all plain sailing, as Webster recalls facing her 40’s with trepidation. “It was more the attitude to me that I hated. The assumptions that the young make. I didn’t want to be 50 - I could see I now looked my age instead of younger than my age as people always thought me.

“No one likes that first grey hair - so let it go white - or dye it! What I do hate is the crimplene skin. And the hairs have left my brows and gone to my nose and moles. On the plus side, I don’t have to shave my legs much now.

“The worst thing is the menopause,” she adds.

“I cried for two years, couldn’t be bothered to do anything, got bitter and depressed, couldn’t remember anything, but it passes and in the end it’s worth it to get rid of periods!”

In their show they joke about the menopause in the guise of two “Jane Austen like characters”.

“We also have a very old mother with inappropriate sexual behaviour –

“If it is inappropriate,” disagrees Webster. “Yes,” affirms Bourgein. “It is inappropriate.”

“There’s a sketch about how to make money on your telephone from a Margot from the Good Life character who’s taken up working from home. It’s not necessarily about women at all. We make social commentary about pensions, unemployment, not in a heavy way; to get our little message out.”

“We play lots of different scenarios and different characters and make the whole thing as theatrical as we can,” they say, “Bearing in mind we are racing around like blue arsed flies trying to change our costumes.”

Women of an Uncertain Age is at the Canal Cafe Theatre, Little Venice, on November 20, 21, 26 - 30.

Correction: In the print copy of this article it was wrongly stated Ms Bourgein was married to Dad’s Army actor Bill Pertwee.

She was his partner at the time of his death last year. Mr Pertwee was married to Marion McLeod who predeceased him.