The Sound of Music arrived in Brisbane this week, and with it, one of our favourite faces from the earlier years of TV, Lorraine Bayly. She’s got a small but beautiful role in the production which has wowed audiences in Sydney in recent weeks and we got time to chat with her. At 79 years old, which we found hard to believe, she was every bit the inspiration we had hoped.
Of course, we couldn’t talk for long about her career without asking about her time in Playschool, for which we remember her so well. She spent ten years on Play School from 1966 until 1978, as one of the original cast members alongside John Hamblin, John Waters, and Anne Haddy. Noni Hazelhurst took over her job when she left the show to pursue her theatre. We remember them well, and had a giggle about the behind the scenes antics for which they were rumoured.
Bayley plays Frau Schmidt in the production of The Sound of Music, and is enjoying her onstage moments in the show. They don’t ask her to sing in this production she says, but that didn’t stop her breaking into song with us, backstage. She sang a full chorus of “A-lil-ole-bitty-pissant-country-place” from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
“If you’re working with John Hamblin and I worked with him a lot…you know he would manage to say the most innocent phrase but so dirtily.
“But some other funny things happened. I remember a letter we got in and some young girl had drawn a picture of John Waters and myself and we were both completely nude. They were very flattering pictures I must say.
She performed just a couple of times in the Sydney show before she injured her foot and was required to spend 5 weeks on the sidelines. She had a bad fall on stage and was unable to get up, lying there in front of the audience hoping her fellow cast members would realise that she was in trouble. They did and Cameron Daddo broke script, acting out on what had happened to assist her up and off the stage without the audience being troubled.
She is surrounded in the show by stars of the top tier of theatre and TV. Returning to the stage in the role of Captain von Trapp is the multi-talented Cameron Daddo, the vocally awesome Marina Prior as Baroness Schraeder and Jacqui Dark as Mother Abbess. Maria is played with precision by Amy Lehpamer who was most recently coveted for her role in the Rocky Horror Show and Rock of Ages.
But Lorraine was the one we sought our backstage, remembering her fondly from stage and screen. In 2006 she was named in Australian Variety’s “Entertainers of the Century” and in 2001 she was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) Honours List
Now 79, we just loved spending time with her. Have you plans to see The Sound of Music in your town?