Empty nester plays games

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SHOWS -

OTH­ERS and chil­dren alike will find they can re­late to the ‘‘wicked, ma­nip­u­la­tive and pos­ses­sive’’ char­ac­ter Mum in Javeen­bah The­atre’s new stage show, The An­niver­sary.

The An­niver­sary is a Bri­tish black com­edy that fol­lows the sto­ry­line of Mum – who is fight­ing to keep her three sons Henry, Tom and Terry at home to re­main part of the fam­ily busi­ness.

Re­gard­less of a de­ceased Dad, the fam­ily are brought to­gether to cel­e­brate Mum’s wed­ding an­niver­sary – and re­volt is in the air.

As Terry gath­ers the courage to tell Mum he is mov­ing to Canada and Tom breaks the news of his im­pend­ing mar­riage, Mum is ready to fight back with gifts, threats and ruth­less ex­ploita­tion of their weak­nesses to keep them in her nest.

Di­rec­tor Dawn China says de­spite Mum’s shock­ing one-lin­ers and dark char­ac­ter, the au­di­ence will find they warm to her.

‘‘They can re­late to her – moth­ers un­der­stand it’s sad when your son or daugh­ter leaves home – but they prob­a­bly don’t go that far to ma­nip­u­late their kids to stay at home,’’ she says.

‘‘The younger ones will see parts of their mother in the Mum char­ac­ter. They’ll see the re­ac­tions from the sons and will be bat­tling for them.’’

The cast features Vir­ginia Leaver as Mum, Dennis Watkins as Henry, Dean Mayer as Terry, Naomi Thompson as Karen, Hay­den Bech as Tom and Chantelle Wright as Shirley.

China says Leaver has done an ex­cep­tional job of tak­ing on the chal­leng­ing role.

‘‘The char­ac­ter is not a nice mum; she is a ma­nip­u­la­tive woman who gets plea­sure from driv­ing her sons to their limit,’’ she says.

‘‘But it’s the sheer ease of Mum’s rude­ness that is hi­lar­i­ous. It’s dark, but you still find it funny. It’s like laugh­ing at some­thing you shouldn’t be laugh­ing at.

‘‘Vir­ginia brings some­thing dif­fer­ent to the role – she is a lovely per­son so she brings this nice per­sona to the role. She can grab the au­di­ence in, then she can sud­denly switch and be quite nasty.’’

Set in the 1960s, China says she goes to ex­treme lengths to en­sure The An­niver­sary takes the au­di­ence on a trip back in time.

‘‘I have tried to make it as real as pos­si­ble. We found real wall­pa­per and dress­mak­ing pat­terns from the ’60s to use,’’ she says.

‘‘From the minute peo­ple come in, we want to trans­port them back.’’

opens at Javeen­bah The­atre to­mor­row and plays Thurs­days to Satur­days at 8pm un­til April 6, with a 2pm mati­nee on Sun­day.

Chantelle Wright (as Shirley) and Hay­den Bech (Tom) lock lips in

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