Published: 03/02/2016 00:22 - Updated: 02/02/2016 09:28

Tough love for mums and teens

Written byMargaret Chrystall

Mum's The Word star Libby McArthur
Mum's The Word star Libby McArthur

AS the sequel to the hit show Mum’s The Word returns to face the teenage years most parents dread, Libby McArthur is remembering hers – as part of Scottish girl group Sophisticated Boom Boom.

The actress – these days better-known for her long-running role as Gina in Scottish soap River City – laughs.

"I remember thinking ‘When I am a pop star I’ll be able to change the world’. And we did Peel Sessions.

"You think you’re going to go up and up and up and be constantly in demand," Libby muses.

"But it was a great way to spend my late teens and early 20s, in a band.

"It’s amazing how much it still comes up. We were recently reunited for one of the girl’s 50ths.

"I think we realise now we were a bit ahead of our time," says Libby who featured in the first show.

The original idea for Mum’s The Word – comparing the laugh-out-loud experiences of mums coping with bbies for the first time – appeared in 1993 in Vancouver, Canada.

Six women who reckoned they had once been exciting, glamorous, professional actors were suddenly transformed into exhausted, bedraggled mothers.

And they decided to write a show about it.

They had 10 children under the age of six between them and Mum’s The Word was their honest take on parenthood, the joys, the agonies and the sudden immersion in all the things a parent knows only too well – "bathwater, food, spit, snot, blood, vomit, urine and faeces".

Written by Linda A Carson, Jill Daum, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Deborah Williams, the play also became a hit in the UK.

In Scotland those taking part included Blythe Duff, Lorraine McIntosh, Libby McArthur, Barbara Pollard, Barbara Rafferty, Juliet Cadzow, and Annie Grace.

Lorraine and Libby are back for the sequel, 10 years after the original show proved a hit in Scotland.

Though for Libby, her own experience of weathering her offspring’s teenage years is some way in the past.

She laughs: "My baby is 32 this year!"

"People say ‘Oh you must have had him when you were 12!’ and I suppose I’m actually at the stage of being a granny."

Joining Libby are Jane McCarry (Still Game), Lorraine McIntosh (Deacon Blue), Julie Wilson Nimmo (Balamory) and former Radio Clyde presenter Suzie McGuire.

Billed as hysterically funny and poignant, the new show moves not just into the lives of teenagers, but how the mums feel about coping with them and growing older – their families and their relationships, in other words

Looking back at everything her own late mum did for her family, as a mum herself, Libby is clearly in awe now she realises how much her mother did for the family.

"If my mum were still alive, I’d literally carry her about in a sedan chair and wash her feet with my hair!

"She had eight children – four girls and four boys ... and three nervous breakdowns!" Libby jokes.

"So it’s all hail to parents.

"With this show, any parent should come to see this because it laughs at this condition – parenting – that other people who don’t have kids know nothing about... yet!

"Those people who look at a wee baby and go ‘Why have you got that huge bag?’ ...

"Once you’ve been a parent, you don’t sweat the small stuff."

But Libby is convinced you don’t have to have kids to enjoy the humour of the show.

"You just need to be a member of the human race!"

Mum’s The Word 2 is at Eden Court from Wednesday, February 2 to Saturday, February 6. Details:

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