The Anniversary: Quinns Rocks actress learning about dysfunctional families in play


Future daughter-in-law Shirley (Ellie Bawden) comes to blows with her fiance’s mother (Jacqui Warner) in The Anniversary.
Future daughter-in-law Shirley (Ellie Bawden) comes to blows with her fiance’s mother (Jacqui Warner) in The Anniversary.

QUINNS Rocks resident Ellie Bawden is learning all about dysfunctional families and mothers-in-law from hell.

She’s appearing in Marloo Theatre’s latest offering The Anniversary – a black comedy where a mother binds her three sons to her with gifts, threats and ruthless exploitation of their weaknesses.

Written by Bill MacIlwraith and directed by Rob Warner, the show sees revolt in the air as they come to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary despite dad being dead for years.

One son gathers the courage to tell his mother he’s taking his wife and family to Canada while another breaks the news of his impending marriage – but is it enough to stop their mother ruling the roost?

A long-time audience favourite, The Anniversary was adapted into a 1968 film with Bette Davis in the mother role.

Bawden plays Shirley, the fiancee of Tom, who is the youngest of the three sons.

“On the surface, she is seemingly nervous and quiet but underneath there is a feisty, no-nonsense young woman willing to do anything to prove just how much she loves her fiance,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge of portraying Shirley’s two very different sides to the audience.”

Warner said the suggestion to stage the play came from his wife Jacqui, who plays the mother in the production.

“It’s set in the 1960s, which is an era I like, while the toxic relationship between the mum and her sons makes it an interesting and challenging play to direct,” he said.

The Anniversary plays at 8pm on April 27, 28, May 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 18, 19 with 2pm matinees on April 29, May 6, 13.

Tickets on 6270 1465 or at www.trybooking.com/TZMQ.

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