Mother & Son on Stage

I wasn’t around in the 80s to know what Mother & Son was, have seen it, or truth be told have heard of it until this theatrical remake was released recently. Having now discovered it though, I’m ashamed to say I’d never paid that much attention to my inner Australian sensibilities.

Mother & Son was a hit TV show on the ABC some 30 years ago that introduced audiences to the unforgettable characters of Maggie and Arthur Beare, mother and son duo whose on-screen antics brought satirical Australianisms about the ‘joy’ of ageing and geriatric care. A shocking insight into my adulthood, no doubt.

It has now been adapted for the stage, written by Geoffrey Atherden and produced by Spencer McLaren, and features some prominent names in Australian theatre and acting such as Shane Jacobson (Kenny 2006, Guys and Dolls 2008), Logie Award winning Noeline Brown, Darren Gilshenan and Nicki Wendt, all of whom bring a homegrown feel to the stage.

Circling around the hardships of caring for an ageing mother and the humorous side of the loss of the mind the elderly experience, the typical Australian family environment is replicated perfectly through a versatile mis en scene and an adaptable stage, used seamlessly by the six-person on stage cast.

With the ups-and-downs of inter-familial relationships, the dynamics introduced by a cheating brother and paranoid housewife and the sympathy invoked by the unwillingness of grandchildren to spend time with their grandmother, the home life of an Australian family is so nicely iterated, that for the local, it’s hard to not feel apart.

With the ultimate success of the show being the achievement of respite care for Brown’s character Maggie after a struggle of a push for her son Arthur (Gilshenan) while fighting the sibling rivalry of having a brother like Robert (Jacobson), the show’s dabbling in dynamics of adulthood-meets-old age is as humorous and witty as you’d think.

Rue the day I get there myself.

Mother & Son is showing at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre from 18 July.

See more at

Mother & Son 1

Mother & Son 2

Mother & Son 4

Mother & Son 5

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