Saturday, April 21st, 2018 - Marloo Theatre: Darlington Theatre Players

EVER had a mother-in-law from hell? Or been part of a dysfunctional family?

Marloo Theatre’s latest offering is 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 central mother role.

“The suggestion for the play came from my wife Jacqui, who plays the mother in this production,” Warner said.

“I really enjoyed reading it and realised the show would be suitable for the Marloo Theatre stage.

“It’s set the 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.”

Joining Marloo Theatre in 1993, initially just to keep an eye on his kids, Warner has been involved ever since and has spent the past 12 years as president.

He mainly works as a stage manager and has branched out with other companies including the Old Mill, KADS, Regal, Rechabites and Stirling Theatres and the Graduate Dramatic Society.

Warner made his directing debut with The Foreigner at Marloo Theatre in 2016, picking up the Yvonne Lynch Breakthrough Award, David Crewes Award for best set and nominations for best director and best play, at the annual Finley Awards.

More recently, he directed a sell-out season of Wife After Death for Serial Productions.

“Although The Anniversary is a dark comedy, the challenge is to make it believable and the relationships real, rather than playing it for laughs,” Warner said.

The Anniversary plays at 8pm April 27, 28, May 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 12, 16, 18 and 19 with 2pm matinees April 29, May 6 and 13. Tickets are $22, $20 concession, $18 members – book on 6270 1465 or at

Marloo Theatre is at 20 Marloo Road, Greenmount (off Innamincka Road).



anniversary1: Jacqui Warner, right, is the overbearing mother in The Anniversary with Benedict Chau as her youngest son Tom.

anniversary2: The Anniversary features Paul Reed, left, Benedict Chau, Shelly Miller, Jacqui Warner and Luke Miller.

anniversary3: Real-life husband and wife Luke and Shelly Miller have found themselves playing a married couple on stage in The Anniversary.

anniversary4: Mother-in-law from hell (Jacqui Warner, right) accuses her son’s fiancée Shirley (Ellie Bawden) of having body odour.

File Library

Contact Profile

Marloo Theatre: Darlington Theatre Players

Darlington Theatre Players was established to encourage participation in all aspects of theatrical arts. Formalised from an existing group in the artistic hills of Darlington east of Perth, Western Australia, in 1956, early performances were in the local hall, formerly a wine cellar. Following representations from DTP, the local shire built the main hall next to the existing hall in 1960 and later rebuilt the stage house and added the verandah and toilet block to the structure in 1978.

Competing pressure from other hall users forced DTP to look for other premises and, in 1984, they took up a lease on the disused old Greenmount Primary School in Marloo Road. After several building projects financed from their own resources, and from Federal, State and local government grants, DTP have one of the best-equipped local theatres, known as Marloo Theatre, in the Perth area.

Every year DTP, put on four or five main seasons, as well as three or four other events, encompassing classical dramas, comedies, musicals and pantomimes. These can often fill the 11m wide, 6m deep and 4m high main stage, with 4m deep backstage area.

DTP is commitmed to encouraging new member involvement both on and off stage.

Rob Warner
P: 0417 095 374


The Anniversary, Marloo Theatre, comedy, humour, performing arts, mother-in-law, dysfunctional family, funny



More Formats

View QR Code