Director and co-writer Alan Youngson with assistant director and co-writer Janet Findlay.
If you say ‘break a leg’ to theatre folk in the 70s there is a better than average chance that might literally happen, as was the case with Viagara Falls – Sweeten Up!
Ipswich writer Janet Findlay said that is exactly what happened to one of their cast members just two weeks after she got the part.
“Her leg was broken in three places,” Ms Findlay said.
So Ms Findlay herself has now slotted into the part.
Co-writers Janet Findlay and Alan Youngson have worked in the theatre industry for about 50 years each. They felt there was a gap in the market for a clever, witty and slightly risqué show for the 60 to 80 years age group.
Ms Findlay is not one to dwell on the past.
“We are still living our lives and discovering things from day to day. I don’t feel like I am living in the past. I wanted to do something for my peers without reproducing the same old things,” she said.
“I don’t want to just sing songs from two generations ago.”
Mr Youngson believes people don’t lose their sense of humour just because they get older.
“I think when you retire you rewire and refire. It’s a new phase of life,” he said.
Ms Findlay came up with the seed of the idea to write a farce about a mix up of artificial sweeteners with Viagra pills in a retirement village.
“I rang Alan, who I had met when he was managing the Logan Entertainment Centre and I was playing the Queen in a show there. I said I’ve got something to show you and he was able to help shape the plot and the characters,” she said.
Mr Youngson said they worked well together.
“The male-female thing helps shape some of the humour,” he said.
Writing a commercially successful show is the Holy Grail for a writer and there was never any question about where it was going to be set.
“We really wanted it set in Ipswich, we thought it would give everyone a lift. All of the ladies in the show are from Ipswich and the men are from West Brisbane,” Mr Youngson said.
Despite the subject matter, they don’t think older audiences will be shocked.
Ms Findlay said you tend to get pigeonholed as you get older.
“We are living these lives, sometimes it is younger people who can be almost prudish about older people. We are representing older people as sexual beings and we normalise that fact,” she said.
“We have played to all age groups in our careers and the older audience is fantastic, you couldn’t find much more fun anywhere else.”
Viagara Falls – Sweeten Up! Will be shown at Studio 188.
Tickets are still available for Friday, 1 March at 1.30pm and Saturday, 2 March at 7.30pm.
Ticket prices are $25 for adult or $20 for concession holders.
Cast members: Joan Lock Wood, Alan Youngson, Richard Edwards, Janet Findlay, Ian Ogle, Eileen Day, Laurie Webb and Jessie Morwood.
About the show
When multiple divorcee Fran, borrows a large container of artificial sweeteners, Sweeten Up, from her nervous husband-to-be Eric, she has no idea of the havoc that will wreak on the peaceful retirement village where they both live.
Things descend into mayhem and only one person knows the real reason behind all the chaos. Shy bridegroom Eric has lost the Viagra pills he obtained from his charismatic GP. It was his Viagra pills that he subsequently hid in the container of Sweeten Up that an unsuspecting Fran borrowed.
Viagara Falls – Sweeten Up! Is a lively, original farce which derives its humour and charm from warm, relatable characters and a simple mistake that escalates wildly out of control, affecting an entire community.