The Anniversary: former Old Mill Theatre performer takes turn as ‘mother-in-law from hell’


Former Old Mill Theatre performer Jacqui Warner (right) is the overbearing mother in The Anniversary with Benedict Chau as her youngest son Tom.
Former Old Mill Theatre performer Jacqui Warner (right) is the overbearing mother in The Anniversary with Benedict Chau as her youngest son Tom.

FORMER Old Mill Theatre performer Jacqui Warner is learning all about dysfunctional families and mothers-in-law from hell.

She is 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 Warner’s husband Rob, a former Old Mill Theatre stage manager, the show sees revolt in the air as they come to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary.

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

“I saw the film version of The Anniversary on TV many years ago and Bette Davis was at her evil best,” Warner said.

“There are not many juicy roles for women of my vintage so when I realised it was originally a play, I got hold of the script, read it, and then hinted very loudly to my husband that it might be a good play for him to direct.

“The mother character doesn’t believe she is nasty, she believes she’s perfectly entitled to say and do whatever she wants, so my biggest challenge is to be nasty enough while still making it believable.”

The Anniversary plays at 8pm May 9, 11, 12, 16, 18 and 19 with a 2pm matinee May 13.

Tickets are $22, $20 concession, $18 members at www.trybooking.com/TZMQ.

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