View­ers are sure to re­late to the chal­lenges de­picted in How To Stay Mar­ried, a new TV series star­ring Peter Hel­liar and Lisa McCune

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAY - SEANNA CRONIN

The up and downs of mar­riage are rich com­edy gold for Peter Hel­liar and Lisa McCune. The pair re­unite on screen as Greg and Em But­ler – a cou­ple first in­tro­duced in Hel­liar’s com­edy series It’s A Date on the ABC in 2013 – in Ten’s new com­edy How To Stay Mar­ried.

Now, five years later, the re­lat­able cou­ple are fac­ing their next chal­lenge: a role re­ver­sal as Em re­turns to work and Greg sud­denly finds him­self at home.

“It all falls apart at Greg’s work in the first episode,” Hel­liar, who also wrote the series, tells me dur­ing a visit to the show’s Mel­bourne set.

“He’s not par­tic­u­larly happy at Births, Deaths and Mar­riages but he’s been hid­ing it, do­ing what he thinks he should be do­ing as the provider.

“They’re just try­ing to make this new dy­namic work. We also tackle things like how much screen time their kids should have and try­ing to keep the ro­mance alive – they have a dis­as­trous visit to an Ed Sheeran con­cert.

“There’s va­sec­tomies, sky div­ing at­tempts, bas­ket­ball matches that go wrong; it’s very re­lat­able.”

It’s one of only a hand­ful of reg­u­lar roles that McCune, a Gold Lo­gie win­ner, has played on TV since 2013’s Reef Doc­tors.

“I’m hav­ing a good time dip­ping my toe in ev­ery now and then,” she says.

“Com­edy is hard work. It takes a lot of con­cen­tra­tion be­cause you’ve got to be on the tim­ing.

“We’ve had a lot of these amaz­ing co­me­di­ans com­ing through on set, and I’m like the straight man in it.”

For the first few weeks of pro­duc­tion McCune jug­gled a role in the Mel­bourne Theatre Com­pany’s Glo­ria with film­ing.

“She was on set from 6am un­til 5.30pm at night, then she’d go straight to the theatre to do the play. It was quite heroic,” Hel­liar says.

“One of the rea­sons we wanted to do the show was I had so much fun work­ing with her on It’s A Date.

“Any­one who saw that episode knows how funny she is.

“She’s so funny but she hasn’t had that many op­por­tu­ni­ties to show that off.”

Phil Lloyd also re­turns in his role as Greg’s brother Brad, who has moved into Greg and Em’s daugh­ter So­phie’s room af­ter break­ing up with his girl­friend.

“Brad’s pretty un­lucky in love, not for want of try­ing,” Lloyd says.

“It’s that thing where it’s be­cause he tries too hard, which turns the ladies off a bit.

“Now he’s a grown man liv­ing in a girl’s bed­room, which is weird.”

Dar­ren Gil­shenan and stand-up co­me­dian Nikki Brit­ton round out the series’ reg­u­lar cast as Greg and Em’s nosy but love­able neigh­bours Terry and Marlo.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Dar­ren since The Moodys,” Hel­liar says.

“He doesn’t have to do much to have you in stitches, and we’re ex­cited this is one of Nikki’s first TV ex­pe­ri­ences.” How to Stay Mar­ried pre­mieres at 9pm tonight on Ten

Peter Hel­liar and Lisa McCune have re­united to star in new com­edy series How To Stay Mar­ried.

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