The Widow Unplugged
Reg Livermore is many things – actor, entertainer, legend – but an octogenarian he certainly is not.
“ONE OF THE papers said today that I’m 80. But I’m not, I’m 79!” Reg Livermore says. “For a few more months yet.”
In any case, Livermore is hardly one to be slowed down by age, and he has written a oneman show for himself. The play is The Widow
Unplugged, centred on ageing actor, clown and raconteur Arthur Kwick, a performer who never made it big. Instead, he’s a jobbing jackof-all-trades, hosting stag nights and clowning for children’s parties.
“He’s right at the end of his so-called career but then he gets an offer that revives his enthusiasm and his imagination,” Livermore explains. “I can’t tell you what the job is because I want it to be a surprise for the audience, but it brings new life to a career he thought was well and truly over.” Is Arthur Kwick the Reg Livermore who failed, then? “I suppose I’m embedded in it. It’s fiction and nonfiction. My career has been much more spectacular than Arthur’s, but I can still appreciate where he’s coming from.”
After stints in big-budget musical theatre in recent years ( Wicked and My Fair Lady), The Widow Unplugged is a return to the selfsufficient Livermore of legendary theatrical showcases such as Betty
Blokk Buster Follies and Sacred Cow – minus the heavy make-up, satin duds, heels and stockings.
“I don’t really want to get into high heels ever again,” he chuckles. “Never, never, never. You move on, you know? This one is much more to do with where I’m at now. And when you get to be 79, high heels and stockings are just… grotesque, in the wrong sort of way.”
Livermore says this might be his last production. Although, never say never. “My concern is what will happen to me if I stop something I’ve been doing for more than 60 years? Do I just atrophy? Do I just sit in a rocking chair on the verandah, somewhere under a jacaranda?” Ensemble Theatre, 78 McDougall St, Kirribilli 2061. 02 9929 0644. ensemble.com.au. $35-$73. Jul 26-Sep 1.
“I don’t really want to get into high heels ever again”
Reg Livermore as Betty Blokk Buster