Actress Janet Dibley comes to Preston in a hilarious comedy dubbed “menopausal women behaving badly”. We spoke to her about HRT, her Irish accent and missing home.

BEST friends Vera and Anna have a few things in common — being the ‘wrong’ side of 40, husband troubles and a love of Irish singing sensation Daniel O’Donnell to name but a few.

During the trip to Donegal to see their idol in concert, Vera and Anna come face to face with the realities of their lives — loveless marriages, husbands in mid-life crises and the menopause. Never mind the prospect of being thrown on the sexual scrapheap.

Although actress Janet Dibley (Fat Friends, Where the Heart is, The Two of Us) who plays Anna in the comedy Women on the Verge of HRT couldn’t be further from her character’s predicament, she believes women of all ages will be able to empathise with the show.

“I’m not quite HRT age myself. I’m 50, but you don’t have to be suicidal to be Ophelia. My job is to act and to tell a story, not to be going through the same things myself.

"The show is certainly something that women of all ages can enjoy because, after all, we all have times in our life when we’re undergoing changes, whether it be from 20 to 30, or from 40 to 50. We change and grow.”

The show requires Janet and fellow actress Louise Jameson (EastEnders, Doctor Who) to speak in Belfast accents, which Janet says was a challenge she relished.

“I love the women of Belfast,” she said. “They say it how it is. Being offered the chance to play somebody so forthright was very seductive.”

The women trained with a voice coach and, happily, Irish audience members have given them the thumbs-up.

For Janet the chance to do live theatre for the first time in 13 years was both a terrifying and thrilling prospect.

“I was very very homesick when I started the tour,” she said. “My family is fine without me, it’s just me that’s the problem! It’s just not easy when you’re away from your comfort zone, when you’re staying in other people’s houses and you’re away from your own things, but you get used to it and you learn to look after yourself. They say it’s good to do things that you fear the most, that it can stretch you, especially as an actor. I have done telly for a long time and this is a good thing for me as I’m back in the saddle.

“Thankfully, I have a wonderful colleague in Louise. We’re contemporaries and we’ve both got children and families so we understand each other and can support each other.”

Janet has found the experience of working in theatre immensely satisfying.

“Oh, it’s so much more satisfying than TV,” she said. “TV can be very isolating.

"You have no control over what goes out, but in the theatre there’s nobody responsible for your performance apart from you.

“What I love most is that as an actor you’re sharing the writing and connecting with the audience.”

l Women on the Verge of HRT comes to Preston Charter Theatre from June 1 to 6. For tickets call 01772 258858.