top of page

Shakespeare is known for writing ‘a play within a play’ – Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream come to mind.

The Actress which opened at Nailsea’s Little Theatre this week uses this technique as the storyline mirrors in part The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov.

The Chekhov story has been described in turn as a comedy, with elements of farce, and tragedy.

If you think is sounds a bit stodgy you are so wrong.

The Actress as performed by our local thespians is simply brilliant – funny, poignant and dramatic with great acting, great scenery and great costumes.

The players in this tiny little theatre in Union Street display just the right mix of half smiles and caustic back-biting mixed sometimes  with a glimmer of compassion.

Most of the action is in a dressing room filled with fake flowers while the Cherry Orchard stage is built into a clever backdrop.

We did have a bit of rumpty tumpty behind the leather sofa with Lydia Martin played by Isobel Williams and her philandering ex-husband Paul played by silver fox John de Barham.

Lydia is dreaming of retirement in Switzerland with her moneybag’s fiancée who can hardly climb a flight of stairs let alone rise to any bedroom activity.

Think Jerry Hall and Rupert Murdoch and you get the visual.

A breathless Bob Beale plays elderly Charles whose demise looks imminent and is instructed to sip the Champagne bubbles when he calls for oxygen.

Katharine her dresser (Jan Winters) and the company manager Margaret (Ginny Watts) indulge in a bit of petty thieving of stage props with the idea of reselling the mementoes.

Although Margaret takes the blue wig on a stand which the intention of putting it on a spike later!

While her inebriate agent Harriet (Becky Kingsley-Jones) numbs the loss of her 10 per cent cash-cow with copious amounts of brandy.

Her portrayal of a drunk is hilarious while Isobel’s performance is a real star turn.

Daughter Nicole a secret smoker and a bit of a rebel mellows as the departure of her mother approaches and in the end they share some poignant girl time cuddled up on set.

I was waiting for a death or murder but go and see for yourself as limited tickets are still available.

The production which began with the Sunday matinee continues with six evening performances at 7.45pm from Monday to Saturday, June 3-8.

Director Connie Walker said: "Writer Peter Quilter is an ever so talented West End and Broadway playwright whose plays have been translated into 30 languages and performed in 40 countries.

"The Actress had its world premiere in Rio de Janeiro in May 2015 and is both poignant and funny in its portrayal of a theatrical night to remember."


The actors in The Actress

The Actress Flyer.webp

Call the box office on 0777 298 1037 or for online tickets £12 go to

Carol Ann Deacon

bottom of page