JOHN Wood’s stage and screen credits are legend.
Famous as the no-nonsense magistrate in Rafferty’s Rules, the ever-patient police officer in Blue Heelers and the baron of Ballarat in The Dr Blake Mysteries, the multi-Logie award winner will become seriously silly when he takes to the stage in the new year in an irreverent role that pokes fun at seniors and ageing.
“It’ll be a laugh,” he said of the stage revue Senior Moments. “Yes some of it is stereotypical and some of it isn’t – it’s nevertheless very funny.”
In an interview with The Senior, the veteran star was open and frank about his struggle with rheumatoid arthritis.
“It slows me down. I’m in constant pain in my hands and fingers and it doesn’t go away no matter what I take; and I can’t walk up and down stairs very well.”
Despite this, the 72-year-old, who lives with his wife Leslie on a hobby farm in the Yarra Valley, has no plans to put his feet up or rest on his laurels.
“I have no desire to retire and never had. Frankly, I can’t afford to. The bills don’t stop coming in.”
He also has an added incentive to keep as active as possible: his much adored grandchildren aged four, six and eight keep him on his toes. And unlike some grandparents who are happy to hand the youngsters back to their parents, John loves having them around.
However, he admits the constant noise of computer games “gets on my wick after a while”. He also acknowledges acting work is harder to get as the years pile on, particularly in TV. “It’s very hard if you are over 40. TV’s a young person’s business.”
John recently finished an extensive national tour of the play Bakersfield Mist in which he stared alongside Blue Heelers colleague Julie Nihil.
An acting career that began 50 years ago with a guest role in Bellbird has included leading roles and appearances in many stage and TV shows.
He is also an accomplished writer, having written 11 episodes of the series Prisoner, several episodes of Cop Shop and three of Blue Heelers.
Screen credits also include the Channel Ten telemovie Joanne Lees – Murder in the Outback, Channel Nine’s travel series Wine Me, Dine Me, the drama The Cut and the historical dramatised documentary Rogue Nation on ABC1, Nine’s drama series Underbelly as well as A Tale of Two Cities, Offspring, Neighbours and The Dr Blake Mysteries.
John’s comedic flair will be on show in Senior Moments when he’s joined on stage by Play School icon Benita Collins, master satirist Max Gillies, Kim Lewis (Sons and Daughters and the Restless Years), Russell Newman (A Country Practice and Underbelly) and the Midday Show’s maestro Geoff Harvey on piano.
Described as a “seriously silly show for otherwise sensible seniors” Senior Moments explores the topics that fascinate or exasperate old people.
With sketches and songs and performers who should know better, it makes wicked fun at the trials and tribulations of growing old disgracefully.
- Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, February 6-10, tickets 131-246, bass.net.au
- Comedy Theatre, Melbourne, February 14-18; tickets 1300-111-011, ticketmaster.com.au
- Theatre Royal, Hobart, February 21-25, tickets (03) 6233-2299, www.theatreroyal.com.au
- Concourse Theatre, Chatswood, February 28 - March 4, tickets (02) 8075-8111, theconcourse.com.au
- Riverside Theatres, Parramatta, March 14- 17, tickets (02) 8839-3399, riversideparramatta.com.au
- Heath Ledger Theatre, Perth, March 21 - 25, tickets ticketek.com.au