AFTER more years than she cares to remember treading the boards, Lydia Martin is about to take her final bow, and disappear from the spotlight, for a life of peace and tranquillity with her husband, Charles.
She's a difficult character who is unashamedly tactless and has a private life as dramatic as some of the roles she's taken on. Things become complicated when her ex-partner Paul turns up to witness her final performance.
We also meet her dresser Katherine, who dutifully goes about her business and Margaret, her long suffering agent who she uses and whose opinions she brushes aside without giving it a second thought.
Despite her faults, I found myself warming to Lydia and found her frankness rather refreshing, thanks to a terrific performance by Jane Newman, for me one of the best actresses on the amateur stage. But rest assured, this an amateur performance only in name.
Malcolm Cooper is funny and engaging as Paul and I really enjoyed the character's sharp and witty wisecracks at the expense of the coffin dodging Charles, a very believable David Garner. Barbara Steel impresses again as Katherine.
Peter Quiller's intelligently written piece probably doesn't add anything to the plethora of plays we already have on this subject matter - he touches brilliantly on the fickle nature of fame - but it deserves far bigger audiences than the meagre amount of people who tuned out on Tuesday night. Jane Newman's performance is worth the ticket money alone.
* Until November 25. The box office is on 0161 928 1113. Star rating - ****