Saturday, May 4, 2024



Written by Peter Quilter

Directed by Aarne Neeme

Canberra REP production

Canberra REP Theatre, Acton to May 18


Reviewed by Len Power 3 May 2024


Dramas about the theatre and its people attract us for all sorts of reasons. For many, to gain an insight into that mysterious and glamorous world of actors is irresistible and, for others lucky enough to have been involved in the theatre, it reminds them of that experience and the emotions that it stirred.

 Peter Quilter’s play focuses on the evening of the final performance by celebrated actress, Lydia Martin, before she retires to a quiet life in Switzerland. Various people in her dressing room before, during and after the performance cause her to reflect on a life spent being someone else. Does she know who is she in real life?

Liz St Clair Long, who has appeared in many fine roles over the years in Canberra theatre, plays the actress, Lydia Martin, with an exceptional understanding of this character of the theatre. Her interaction with the people in her life is demanding, imperious, mannered, and yet tinged with sadness. A force of nature, she nevertheless seems lonely despite being surrounded by people. St Clair Long captures all facets of this elusive character superbly.

Liz St Clair Long as Lydia Martin

The other cast members give fine performances as well. Sally Rynveld as Lydia’s dresser, Katherine, effectively brings a strong, calming influence to her role while subtly showing her real feelings underneath. In a well-rounded performance, Rob De Fries plays Lydia’s ex-husband with an arrogance that covers his unresolved emotions about their past relationship. Jane Ahlquist as Harriet, Lydia’s agent, gives a nicely shaded performance of a woman who is cheerful on the surface but is hiding darker thoughts underneath.

Saban Berrell, Kate Harris and Jazmin Skopal give fine performances as well.

The strength of Aarne Neeme’s production is in the depth of characterisations achieved by everyone in his cast. He brings this theatrical world vividly to life, making this an entertaining and thought-provoking play.


Photo by Eve Murray

Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at