Ballarat National Theatre




Sept. 29 & Oct. 3 ,4, 5, 6 at 8pm
Matinee Sunday Sept. 30 at 2.00pm

Directed and Designed by Peter Nethercote



Penelope O’Farrell - LIESL VANDERKLEY
Dr. ‘Dickie’ O’Farrell - REG MOWAT
Prof. Charles Golightly - ROSS BARNES
Isabel Golightly - WENDY HOLGATE
Davenport Barlow - HEDLEY THOMSON
Ada Fergusson - MIRANDA DONALD
Mr. Beadsworth - BRIAN McCLELLAND


Stage Manager - Lesley Hale
Crew - Celeste Baldwin
Lighting Design - Tegan Allen & Liam Mudge
Switchboard - Shaye Davitt Sound Michael Zala
Hair Design - Chris Angel

Graphic Design - Peter Freund
Photography - Gary Hunt



Penelope brings to the stage of the Courthouse Theatre the wit, cynicism and elegance which are the hallmarks of Somerset Maugham’s writing. This production is directed and designed by Peter Nethercote whose work is well known to Ballarat’s theatre lovers.

The sets and costumes are outstanding and evoke all the charm and elegance of Edwardian times, when ladies and gentlemen dressed and behaved, at least outwardly, with decorum and courtesy. But their behaviour behind closed doors was not always as innocent, a fact which Maugham delights in revealing. His cynical views on marriage and the relations of men and women give rise to much of the clever plot and the manipulations which he suggests are an integral part of the married state.

A very strong cast clearly enjoy their roles. Liesl Vanderkley is a delightful and vivacious Penelope who must plot to keep the affections of her wayward husband, strongly played by Reg Mowat. He is infatuated with her supposed friend Ada, a role which Miranda Donald clearly relishes as she flirts outrageously with every man in sight. As another of her conquests, Hedley Thomson is a wonderfully pompous and self-satisfied snob. Wendy Holgate and Ross Barnes are Penelope’s parents, offering advice which is as unexpected as it is successful. There is a very funny scene with Margaret Jarvis as a hypochondriacal patient, and good supporting performances by Brian McClelland and Lesley Hale.

This is indeed a comedy with bite. There are so many very funny and clever one-liners that the audience cannot afford to miss a word. And while times have certainly changed, perhaps in some areas human nature has not!