The comic genius of Russ Woody
TV SHOWS that convert to successful stage plays seem largely confined to UK comedies such as Allo, Allo and Vicar of Dibley.
Maybe not many Australian TV series fill the theatre bill.
But one that leaps to mind is the 2015 hit Mother and Son.
Geoffrey Atherden, who created the decade-long ABC-TV series, launched in 1984, gave it a stage treatment to huge acclaim.
But since its national tour, no follow-ups and no local versions.
Yet the series and the stage play are almost, or should be, hallowed territory.
Allow me to relate a high accolade paid to Atherden in the late '80s.
The Australian Writers' Guild brought out a team of top American sit-com writers to hold a series of workshops to give local writers insights into writing a successful comedy series.
The team was headed by writer and producer Russ Woody.
You could say Russ knew his onions.
Since the start of the '80s, his credits have included umpteen top TV shows including Benson, Newhart, Hill Street Blues, Cybill - for which he won a Golden Globe, the Ted Danson series Becker, Murphy Brown - for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award, the Drew Carey Show and Family Ties. Is there need to go on?
Woody's team explained the "writers' tables” where, say, six, 10 or 15 writers sit, all working on the one sitcom.
The final session is a Q&A with the expert panel joined by Geoffrey Atherden, whose Mother and Son was at its height.
The American experts were dumbfounded to learn that the brilliant, long-running TV series was written by one man. They visually bowed down.
By the way, The Indee Kids' Theatre classes are again being held - on Fridays from 4-5.30pm at Yandina School of Arts (low fees, non-profit).
For details or to join, call Carol on 5472 8200.