Old friends take on new roles

Sunshine Coast duo John Rush and Alli Pope are the deliciously wicked Robert and Liz.

By Tania Phillips

Back in the mid 80s to 90s the Geoffrey Atherden penned Mother & Son ruled the airwaves on the ABC.

Funny and touching Mother & Son told the story of long-suffering second son Athur Beare who lives with his mother Maggie who is taking the trip down “loss-of-memory lane”.

The roles were made famous back then by the legendary Ruth Cracknell and Garry McDonald.

Meanwhile at the same time over on Channel Seven another duo were making their names on a sitcom – as the ditsy secretary Betty and everybody’s best friend Nudge – Julie McGregor and Christopher Truswell were the unofficial stars of Hey Dad and easily the shows most popular characters.

Fast forward several decades and when Sunshine Coast-based touring production company Jally Entertainment decided to tour the stage-play version (adapted by Atherden himself) McGregor (who turned 72 last month) was at the top of producer Alli Pope’s wish list.

“Julie is actually a good friend of Christophers anyway, they have stayed in touch – really good friends all these years and they live near each other in the Blue Mountains,” Alli, who runs the touring company with husband John Bailey, explained.

“So when I was down there doing the photo shoot it was easy to coordinate them because they have this beautiful rapport – they just get on it’s so obvious. When we saw her we thought what about him and her agent said yes they’re really good friends, we thought this was meant.”

Sunshine Coast actor John Rush will play older son Robert while Alli is very obviously excited to be playing Robert’s venomous wife Liz!

This freshened version of the beloved Logie Award-winning show finds long-suffering second son Arthur hoping for the chance to finally take his new flame Anita away on a little holiday.

His only chance for a break however involves recruiting help from his successful but selfish brother Robert – but the firstborn favourite has enough on his hands. The philandering dentist has been doing distinctly unhygienic things with his hygienist – and when his wife finds out,

Arthur’s troubles double as Robert lands on the doorstep. It doesn’t help that manipulative Maggie is in fine form and sabotaging Arthur’s chances of romance at every turn.

“We are opening here on the Coast on a matinee – which is different,” she said.

“But Its ‘perfect for our target audience, it’s an older demographic for this one and matinee’s on the weekend go really well, people like the idea of seeing a show at two or three in the afternoon and then having the evening off.”

From the creator of the hit TV series, Mother & Son, comes a delightful stage comedy featuring Maggie, Arthur, Robert and Liz at Redland Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) on Friday 11 March at 7.30pm.

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