Fashion and flamboyance in The Dress

Alaine Beek (left) and Scott Middleton star in 'The Dress'. (Supplied) 417282_01

Independent theatre company, Essence Productions, is back with another historical play at Werribee Mansion.

Set in late 19th century Melbourne, ‘The Dress’ is on at the mansion on July 20 and 21 and again on August 24 and 25.

Essence Productions is well-known for performing another historical play, ‘What Was That?’ at Werribee Mansion.

“It’s a period piece but it’s very different from the ‘What Was That Show’ said Essence Productions chairperson, Alaine Beek, of ‘The Dress’, which she wrote and also stars in.

“This one is performed seated downstairs off the grand hallway at Werribee Mansion,” said Beek who added that unlike ‘What Was That?, this play could be performed elsewhere too.

“We wrote it so it’s not dependent on being at the mansion. We have performed it for a few runs at Werribee Park but also performed as part of a spectacular masquerade ball event at Hotel Windsor in the CBD in March.”

Beek plays Hannah Bryden, a widow who lives alone in sprawling mansion where her dressmaker, the flamboyant and sharp tongued Bertin (played by both Scott Jackson and Scott Middleton), is her only company.

When changes in the fashion industry threaten Bertin’s livelihood, he hatches a plan to save both of them from obscurity. Hannah will relaunch herself as one of Melbourne’s leading socialites at an upcoming masquerade ball by wearing the most jaw-dropping dress Bertin has ever attempted.

As its name suggests, Beek said fashion was one of the main attractions of the play.

“The one unique part about ‘The Dress’ is the costuming. Because it’s set in the late 19th century, it’s about the Melbourne fashion industry at that time.”


Cade Lucas