“I’M not a miner—I’m more of a major,” actress Amanda Muggleton told the assembled crowd at the Queanbeyan Library today in response to the suggestion that she was a ‘Fly In Fly Out’ Queanbeyanite.No stranger to the town, as Queanbeyan Mayor Tim Overall confirmed in introducing her, Muggleton will be at The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre in early October with her one-woman show, “The Book Club”.
Fresh from a tour as Mrs Johnstone in the tragic Willy Russell musical “Blood Brothers” —a favourite show of the mayor— Muggleton was in full flight with saucy quips specially designed for a normally respectable library. Indeed as she explained, when she did a similar introduction in a Sydney library, she was told, “the librarians are worried about you being a little bit risqué”.
There were no worries of that kind in Queanbeyan and in any case, just in case people had never heard it before, she assured prospective patrons that the play contained “the F word said in such a funny way.”
The play, written by New Zealand writer, Roger Hall, and directed in an adapted version by Rodney Fisher, bears a remarkable resemblance to Muggleton’s most famous role, Shirley Valentine, only this time the housewife she plays, Deborah, is from the middle classes, where her escape from her boring husband Wally takes the form of joining a book club.
And what do they read? When the play was first written it was “Wild Swans” and “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin,” but when she revived it a few years ago it was “Mao’s Last Dancer.” Now— Muggleton and Fisher are just a touch worried about what the New Zealand playwright might think when he sees it—the books include “Anna Karenina,” “The Slap,” Geraldine Brooks’s “March” and naturally, “50 Shades of Grey,” all of which have had considerable media coverage so will be familiar to audiences.
Evidently enjoying her captive audience in the library, Muggleton sketched all the off-stage characters in the show, telling those present, “it’s going to be a joy getting back into comedy…after being on stage every night pulling my guts out [in “Blood Brothers”]…I love making people laugh.”
By now the laughs were coming thick and fast as she told us how she had broken her foot, so performed the role in Perth in a “moon boot,” joking to the audience there that they’d walked into a production of “My Left Foot.”
She said that the only reason she wasn’t taking her clothes off was that the weather was too cold, but made up for it in her description of the play’s “bonking scene,” performed solo.
While taking the opportunity to admonish the men in the audience that they’re missing out on something by not joining a book club, she was forced to admit that last that she also had never signed up.
“How could I?” She asked.
“The Book Club” at The Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, The Q, October 3-5, bookings theq.net.au/ or 6285 6290.