Humbled and thrilled... veteran actor Amanda Muggleton is excited to be starring in Harvest Rain's Blood Brothers. Photo: Supplied
She may be a former Prisoner, but Amanda Muggleton needed no coercion to serve some time in Brisbane to star in Blood Brothers.
The veteran actor met Harvest Rain supremo Tim O'Connor last year, after going to see her close friend Simon Gallaher in the Brisbane company's production of Hairspray.
“I was totally blown away,” said Muggleton.
“I just said [to O'Connor] I want to work with you, because that was fantastic.”
She said the pair immediately settled on Blood Brothers, a shared personal favourite.
Muggleton is a veteran of playwright Willy Russell's work, having starred in Shirley Valentine and Educating Rita.
“He got it together within days, it was unbelievable,” Muggleton said.
“I feel very humble and very thrilled.”
For O'Connor, it was a no brainer.
“I've idolised Amanda all my life...she's an absolute hero of the Australian stage,” he said.
“Coming into rehearsals I was terrified, but also excited, because I respect her and look up to her so much.”
A morality tale about choices, Blood Brothers follows Mickey and Eddie, fraternal twin boys separated at birth in 1950s Liverpool.
Already a single mother of seven, Muggleton's character Mrs Johnstone gives away one of the boys to the wealthy but childless Mrs Lyons because she can't afford two more.
“It's the story of what happens to both twins, the one who's poverty-stricken, and the one who lands on his feet in an upper-middle class family,” Muggleton said.
O'Connor said Willy Russell's script was a very English piece, but its core issue of class reverberates.
“It really dissects rich versus poor, and how if you're born into poverty it's so hard to climb out of it,” he said.
“It's a very specific time piece, but it's timeless in the way you feel about mother and child, family, brotherhood, friendship and all that.”
A regular on the Brisbane theatre scene for 30 years, Harvest Rain is in a transition period, staging its first fully professional production Oklahoma! earlier this year.
“It was a test, essentially, to see how that would work,” said O'Connor.
“Blood Brothers and our next production All Shook Up are essentially the end of our hybrid model where we have professionals work with some emerging artists.”
Muggleton was effusive about the talent in the company.
“I'm just in love with each and every one of the kids in this show... wait until you hear their harmonies, they're extraordinary,” she said.
“When we sing the big song at the end, it should make your hair stand up on end, and it should make people just lose it.”
Blood Brothers plays at the Cremorne Theatre, QPAC from August 3 to 17. Tickets $55 - $99 through www.qpac.com.au