Skip to main content

About Portrait of Murder


  • Genre: Drama

  • Playwright: Robert Bloomfield

  • Director: Ron Hedgcock


Peter Freund

Tod Logan

Bronwyn Oldaker

Agnes Webster

John Daykin

Eliot Barlow

Marie Lyons

Paula Barlow

Sandra Rosenow

Denise Murray

Martin Mcgettigan

James Guthrie


  • Directed by
    Ron Hedgcock
  • Designed by
    Julian Oldfield
  • Stage Manager
    Sally Read
  • Lighting
    Frank Hanrahan, Leon Hanrahan & Lisa Hill
  • Sound Set-Up
    Michael Zala
  • Sound Operation
    Amanda Gunn
  • Pre Production
    Dustin Bennett, Barry Breen, Ivan & Yvonne Downing, Peter Freund, Lesley Hale, Gary & Wendy Hall, Ron Hedgcock, Louise Mcckure, Tony Mcguinness, Josh Noble, Bronwyn Oldaker, Julian Oldfield, Robert Pierce, Ken Prato, Val Sarah, Andrew Seeary, John Stuchbery, Steve, Jennifer & Keiran Wright, Peter Zala.
  • Set Construction
    Frank Lilley

Performance Gallery


Reviewer - Sean Terry

This was to be a new experience - a play, Portrait of Murder, I had never seen by a company that was also new to me. But I had been assured that Ballarat National Theatre had a history of over 60 Years of bringing the best of amateur theatre to Ballarat audiences, so that was good enough for me.

The first thing that caught my attention at the preview I attended was, naturally enough, the set. This was an attractive and elaborate interior set, with plenty of angles, nooks anal entrances - perfect for a thriller. And it worked well, I was soon to find, as the play got under way, with the variety of entrances well exploited by the director in his blocking of the movement. This is a play that depends on a virtuoso performance from the leading character. She has to be nasty and dominant; she has to be bewildered and gentle. She has to be two characters in one. The plot concerns a personality change that takes place after a mysterious house fire almost kills a famous female writer. She returns, so it seems, reconstructed physically, but without any memory. The other characters her somewhat sinister husband, her long- suffering secretary, her husbands lover, her agent and an arty neighbour, all have their own versions of what she was and will be. But; enough of plot - it is a murder mystery and lovers of intrigue will have to go along to the Courthouse Theatre to see for themselves what twists and amazing turns the story takes.

And you will see that virtuoso performance. Marie Lyons plays Mrs Barlow with assurance and grace, with strength and excellent stage presence in all shades of the character. I especially liked her bewildered first entrance and her sharpness and energy as the character in flashback. I read in The Courier that Marie Plans to retire from the stage. Don't do it, Marie! Of the other parts, Peter Freund as the arty neighbour is lively and convincing, Bronwyn Oldaker as the secretary has some nice comic moments, John Daykin is a suitably nasty husband, Sandra Rosenow handles a difficult part well as the lover and Martin McGettigan as the agent is a good foil for the more complex characters. The director, Ron Hedgecock, has developed his diverse cast well, constructing the stage business efficiently (including the flashbacks), building the mystery and moving the play on smoothly to its dramatic and surprising conclusion.

Lighting is also effective throughout, fading nicely, for instance, into the flashbacks.

[Sean Terry is a Melbourne actor currently visiting Ballarat]