This week, a trio of superstars from the stage, screen and airwaves will grace the stage at the Arts Theatre and it’s sure to be a treat.
A Triple Treat, in fact.
Following the massive success of their Adelaide Fringe show, Hans (AKA Matt Gilbertson), Willsy (AKA Anne Wills) and Bob Downe (AKA Mark Trevorrow) are reuniting for two shows only on July 29 and 30.
Matt and Willsy were kind enough to lend us some of their time, during a recent rehearsal, to talk about their show.
“Willsy has made us dinner tonight, as per usual. She’s made goulash soup,” Matt says when I ask what they’ve been up to.
“It’s got minced pork, minced beef, onions, potatoes, tomatoes… it’s fabulous,” Willsy says.
Goulash soup sounds perfect on a cold, wintery evening, not unlike Triple Treat, which is sure to warm your cockles.
“I cannot wait for this show. I don’t care what we sound like, because I’ll be having a great time. I don’t give a rat’s arse, because it’s going to be fabulous! And I’m working with my two men who I adore. I cannot believe my good fortune that I am able to work with Mark and Matt,” Willsy says. “If we work it out, it’ll be really good.”
I’m interrupting their rehearsal time, but the pair are more than happy to talk about how they formed the beautiful partnership they now have.
“From my memory, then Matt can tell you his side. In 2003, I was doing AM Adelaide for an ill-fated six months, Matt and the guys from The Weimar Room came on the show and did a bit of entertainment as the Germans. A few months later, I was at Hahndorf doing a presentation and the same group were the floor show. We had a group photograph taken and Matt lay in front of us with his head resting in his hands like a femme fatale, and I thought, ‘Oh, I’d better watch this person. Something tells me I’ll be seeing a lot more of him.’,” Willsy says.
“Then on my 60th birthday, 12 years ago, he called me. I thought he was ringing to say happy birthday, but Hans said, ‘Now you can travel on the busses for nothing!’ I was waiting for the happy birthday and it never happened, and I thought, ‘Who is this little prick?’ and we’ve been friends ever since.
“But,” Willsy continues. “Later on, he came over here and did a wonderful piece on Adelaide Now about the Logie nominations and what I thought of the Logie nominations…”
“She hated all of them,” Matt interjects.
“I thought they were shit,” Willsy says, earnestly.
“You think they’ve all been shit since 1982! What year did you win the last one?” Matt asks.
“Oh, I don’t know. 1997 or something, I can’t remember! Anyway,” Willsy continues. “We did a bagging kind of an interview about the Logies, and I decided I really liked this person.”
Matt’s story of how he and Willsy became friends is a little different, but the sentiment is similar.
“My story is, I remember many a hungover Sunday watching Willsy’s Movie Scene on the couch,” Matt says.
“Oh, how beautiful,” Willsy says quietly and genuinely in the background.
“And I loved her on the weather, and when that bitch, Nuala Hafner took over…”
At this point Willsy gasps and Matt cracks up laughing.
“I remember thinking, ‘Where the hell is Willsy?’ Adelaide television has never been the same since. All the weather girls, I mean, I know and love them all, but it’s like they’ve been run through a photocopier,” he says.
“They don’t wear earrings, Libby. That’s the problem,” Willsy says.
Their admiration for the third in the trio is just as lovely as their regard for one another.
“I dressed up as Bob Downe at my 21st, which is way before I knew him, so I was always a fan,” Matt says. “My mum and grandma used to take me to his shows. I think my first Bob Downe show was when I was 13 at Fringe and he had these two dancers, Amber and Ash, called the Apple Fresh dancers. It was very exciting. But the most exciting thing about being in this show is that hanging around these two, I’m always the youngest.”
“We can’t compete anymore,” says Willsy. “As Peter Goers put it, we needed him to rejuvenate our careers.”
“Peter Goers told me I needed you to rejuvenate my career, Matt laughs. “But what I want to know is who is going to resurrect Peter Goers’ career? Because we all know how hard it is to maintain a resurrection at his age.”
With Hans, Willsy and Bob renowned for their costumes and panache onstage, one might wonder who is the most fabulous of them all and the answer is… all of them.
“When I make my entrance, everyone will see my beautiful shoes and the $80 worth of diamantes I’m sticking on them. I hope they bloody fit,” Willsy laughs. “But Bob Downe and I are competing with Hans’ costumes.”
“We’re all competing,” Matt says. “We’re the glitter gladiators.”
“Bring sunglasses. Please warn the people, Libby,” Willsy advises.
“We are shimmying into the colosseum and battling it out. There are no refunds if anyone gets injured,” Matt says.
“I do know this though,” states Willsy. ”I will be the only one wearing earrings. I am quite confident I will have the best earrings. Mind you, jumping around, I have to be very careful which ones I wear. Some of them are so damned heavy they slip off your ears.”
“But she always keeps a spare pair in her bra. It’s a little showbiz trick. I mean it’s down near her knees, but whatever!” Matt says.
“It’s happened in my career that I’ve been doing the weather and I’m talking, and one earring breaks, so from that point on, I’ve stuck them in my bra and if they break, I stick my hand in, get another pair and put them on,” Willsy reveals.
“It’s like cash and carry in there,” Matt interjects.
“Well, seeing me without earrings is like seeing someone walking naked into a shopping centre,” says Willsy.
A creative bunch, while Matt’s mum is famous for making his sequinned show pieces, Anne Wills is in charge of making costumes for her and any other special guests who may appear.
“I’ll be making all of my costumes for me and [spoiler alert] my sister, because no one wants to make the shit we wear. I can’t even ask Matt’s mum to do them,” Willsy laughs.
“Yes, but it’s good for your physical therapy, at your age. The whole show is good for your therapy,” Matt says.
“Yes, he’s doing an old duck a favour. It’s like Meals on Wheels. I’m so old. How old am I? Well, when I was born, the Dead Sea was only sick. But you know, the Dead Sea is dying now. It now takes a kilometre longer to get to the water!” Willsy says.
“Oh geez, what’s that saying about you then?” asks Matt.
At this point, Willsy has made me laugh so much, it hurts, so I ask Matt what it’s like to work with the Adelaide legend.
“An exercise in patience,” he says. “It tests me, as a Catholic. It tests my values and my kindness, but it is a community service. At Christmas time, when people ask me what I did for charity this year, I will hand them the flyer of this show.”
Triple Treat will play at the Arts Theatre on July 29 and 30, so grab your tickets HERE.
By Libby Parker
Photos lifted from Hans’ Facebook page