Mandurah Performing Arts Centre’s 20th anniversary brings back memories for Templeman

This signed plate, a coffee machine and
alcohol were gifts from the  grateful star.
This signed plate, a coffee machine and alcohol were gifts from the grateful star.

THE 20th anniversary of Mandurah Performing Arts Centre has brought back memories for then Mandurah town councillor, now Minister for the Arts David Templeman.

In 1999, new centre manager Patrick Corrigan had secured an all-star cast to present English farce Don’t Dress for Dinner in the Easter school holidays.

It had an all-star cast of national and international talent.

Minder star Dennis Waterman was in the show, as was English actress Sue Hodge |(’Allo ’Allo), the late Jon English and Aussie actor Totti Goldsmith.

Waterman’s then wife Rula Lenska was also part of the ensemble that was picked up from Perth Airport in a stretch limo and transported to Mandurah, where they checked into a hotel and relaxed around the pool for an afternoon’s drinking.

After several hours, Waterman ordered another round but the young bartender, who had only recently completed his Responsible Serving of Alcohol training, decided the merry cast had had enough.

Waterman was not happy and after some stern words, vowed not to stay at the hotel.

With the show in jeopardy, production manager the late Lesley Couzens and Mr Corrigan swung into action.

Mr Templeman was living at Halls Head, a single man in a bachelor pad, when he got the call to say his house was needed.

Waterman was refusing to stay another night at his hotel and Couzens had tried every type of accommodation around town.

“I said they could stay with me but was told I would have to stay in their hotel room as they wanted privacy,’’ he said.

“For the next week I became a good ‘friend’ of an appreciative Waterman and lived it up in their hotel room while they lived it up at my house.

“But unfortunately due to a noisy oven they had to rely on takeaway for a week.

“I would wander down each night to watch the show and have a few drinks with the cast.”

One night, the cast and a group of “hangers on” were gathered outside the theatre enjoying some stories and a few drinks.

A young fellow and his girlfriend walked past arguing loudly and in a fit of rage he pushed her so savagely she fell into the estuary.

Quick as a flash, English raced across to fish her out of the water while Waterman apprehended the young man, sitting on him until two police officers (who happened to be ex-English Bobbies) arrived.

They stared in amazement when they saw their helper.

“Bloody heck, you’re bloody Minder,” one said.

“Bloody heck, you’re right,’’ Waterman replied.

MORE: Lach rocks socks: Como PS student puts out call for more help so he can help the homeless

MORE: Police charge Camillo man over serious pub assault

MORE: Araluen Botanic Park springs into life for annual tulip bloom