Tag Archives: Jacqueline McKenzie


The 66th Sydney Film Festival (5 – 16 June) has announced the World Premiere of Palm Beach, an uplifting drama/comedy from Australian director Rachel Ward, as the Opening Night Film at the State Theatre on Wednesday 5 June.

Sydney Film Festival’s Opening Night Gala is proudly presented by Lexus Australia. Tickets are on sale now via sff.org.au.

Palm Beach features an all-star cast of Australian screen legends including Golden Globe-nominated icons Bryan Brown (Australia Day, SFF 2017),Sam Neill (The Daughter, SFF 2015), Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant (Gosford Park), Greta Scacchi (The Player, SFF 1992), Jacqueline McKenzie (Romper Stomper) and Heather Mitchell (Rogue), as well as Brown and Ward’s daughter Matilda Brown, playing Ella – the daughter of Brown’s character Frank.

Set at Sydney’s spectacular Palm Beach, the film follows lifelong friends who gather to celebrate a milestone birthday, only for tension to mount when new and old resentments arise, along with the threat of an old secret coming to light.

With a filmmaking team comprising over 50% female crew, the film is Ward’s second feature film following Beautiful Kate, which will also screen at this year’s Festival as part of Essential Australian Women Directors – 10 Trailblazers Selected by David Stratton.

“Film festival time in Sydney is my favourite time of year. To be kicking it off is a really special treat,” said Rachel Ward.  “’The inspiration for the film came over a Christmas in Wales with friends …  It was a funny and warm occasion, but also one where we realised no one is untouched.”

“Set in one of Sydney’s most beautiful locations, it’s great to think Palm Beach will open this year’s Festival,” she said.




In British playwright Lucy Kirkwood’s MOSQUITOES Alice is a scientist working towards an important new discovery. Jenny  is her sister, and believes any conspiracy she reads on the internet. They couldn’t be more different. So, when tragedy forces them together, the impact has unexpected consequences.

It’s 2008 and Alice’s team of physicists at the Large Hadron Collider are searching for the Higgs Boson, stitching together the fabric of the cosmos. But at home, Alice’s family is falling apart at the seams. ‘It’s a story of facts and feelings, of resilience and decay, of particle physics and sibling rivalry, that reaches to the edges of time and space without ever losing touch with its very human heart’.

This was a compelling night in the theatre,  ‘a perfectly focused family drama woven together with big questions about the universe and our very existence’.                     Continue reading MOSQUITOES @ THE DRAMA THEATRE



THE WATER DIVINER, an epic Australian historical action drama written by Andrew Anastasios and Andrew Knight, is opening in Australian cinemas this Boxing Day and represents Russell Crowe’s directorial debut.

In World War I, the Gallipoli Campaign, was an awful and notably failed offensive by the Allies, and took place on the Gallipoli Peninsula for eight months from 25 April 1915. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek word “Καλλίπολις” (Kallipolis), meaning “Beautiful City”, and where the Anzac Legend began. Anzac Day every 25th of April, commemorates the date of that military landing at Gallipoli, and remains the most significant day for Australian and New Zealand commemoration of our military casualties and our veterans from all wars. Continue reading THE WATER DIVINER

Children Of The Sun

Second Image
Helen Thomson and Toby Truslove in CHILDREN OF THE SUN. Pic Brett Boardman

With Maxim Gorky’s 1905 play CHILDREN OF THE SUN we are in similar territory to another classic Russian play, Anton Chekhov’s THE CHERRY ORCHARD. Both plays depict Russia’s old feudal world in its last, very oblivious throes.

The main difference between the plays is the approach the playwrights take to the inevitable ending. In CHILDREN OF THE SUN we get the full Sturm and Drang- to use a German phrase- as rioters invade Protassoff’s enclave. A master of subtlety Chekhov’s play ends with the sound of the chopping of wood in the distance as the family’s much loved country estate begins to be pulled down. Continue reading Children Of The Sun

In the Next Room or the vibrator play


Jackie McKenzie listens at the closed door

Prominent contemporary American playwright Sarah Ruhl chose a great subject, a quirky, little known medical sidelight from history, for her new play ‘In the Next Room or the vibrator play’ and out of it has created a tremendous, often hilarious play from it.  

In the late 19th century, some modern thinking physicians were trialling women who were suffering from hysteria by using a new electronic invention, the vibrator!  Ruhl has one such a Doctor as the protagonist in her play. Dr Givings (David Roberts) has created a separate room in his family home for his surgery. The play opens with the Doctor taking on a new patient, Sabrina Daldry (Helen Thomson). Together with her husband Mr Daldry (Marshall Napier) she comes to the surgery, complaining of  hysteria and a lack of satisfaction in her marriage. The treatment begins and after the initial shock Sabrina is soon rushing back for more!

Ruhl’s play turns on the fact that Dr Givings has kept his wife Catherine (Jacqueline McKenzie) in the dark about his new treatment technique.  A young mother who spends most of her time at home, Catherine notices how Sabrina and her husband’s other female patients come out of her husband’s treatment room muh chirpier than when they went in! Her curiousity is pricked, what actually happens in the next room?!  She starts prodding some of his patients, what actually happens in there?! Sabrina is a bit cagey about it but one day, when her husband is out on an errand, they manage to get access and his secret world is revealed!

‘In The Next Room’ works beautifully as high pitched comedy of sexual mores. This play’s  achievement is also that it works, just as well, as a poignant study of a  marriage that has lost its way, of a wife who is deeply lonely and miserable, and of a husband who is totally self and career focused.

Pamela Rabe crafts a very satisfying Australian premiere production. Tracy Grant Lord set and costume design places us beautifully in the Victorian  era. The performances are a treat. Jackie McKenzie plays the waif like, neglected wife beautifully. David Roberts impresses as the emotionally disconnected husband. Mandy McElhinney is hilarious as the good Doctor’s deadpan faced assistant. Helen Thomson shines, giving a great comic performance as the ‘born again’ Sabrina. Marshall Napier plays her archly conservative husband. Josh McConville plays Dr Givings first male patient to receive the new treatment and his scenes are hilarious.

 A great night out, Pamela Rabe’s production of Sarah Ruhl’s play ‘In The Next Room or the vibrator play’ opened at the Drama theatre, Sydney Opera House on Friday 11th February and plays until Saturday 2nd April, 2011.