ACT Theatre Reviews 2021-2022

THE ACTRESS by Peter Quilter Director: David Thorburn Players Theatre ‘The Actress’ dramatizes the events backstage of a diva actress who is making her emotional farewell performance while she is still at the top of her game. This play is described as a “bittersweet comedy”. One would think it might come from the pathos of the actress leaving the occupation, which she has devoted her life. The real bitter sweetness is about her failed relationships with others that she developed. During the play various people from her life continually invade her dressingroom to say their goodbyes, declare their continued love, share a laugh, exchange insults and express feelings that have been smouldering for years but dared not be spoken for fear of their meal ticket leaving. These relationships are explored as she prepares to leave everything to marry a very rich banker and relocate to Switzerland. Mary Ellis gave a relatable performance as Lydia. There was plenty of light and shade to her character; she captured the persona of a prima donna star well, assured and feisty while in the company of many, but also tinges of regret were evident when expressing her reasons as to why she is leaving. Then, there are the tender moments, when her guard comes down and she shows the love she has for her daughter and exhusband. Ian Wilkinson was super as her ex-husband who is still hoping for reconciliation and will not take no for an answer. The banter between the two really provided some laugh out loud moments. The couple still seem to have a strong bond between them and so it seems strange that she is about to leave the roar of the crowd, which she craves, for a quiet, safe life with a man who wheezes after climbing a flight of stairs and has little interest in theatre. David Burns, as Lydia’s elderly fiancé Charles, provided the giggles as