On one level, The Dresser simply gives us an insight into what is literally the last night of one of the once-ubiquitous Actor-Managers of years past. However, looking deeper we are able to see the interplay between characters and relationships that goes on beyond the merely professional. Sir's mesmeric hold over young and old members of the company; Her Ladyship's exasperation at his inability to grasp the realities of the "winding down...hiss of air escaping"; Madge's soft centre beneath the hard exterior; Irene's idealised appreciation of the situation (though as Norman later shows us, she may not be as ingenue as she appears)...
And then, of course, there is The Dresser himself. Norman's "friend" (largely drawn from his own experiences) serves as an example and point of comparison, helping him to chivvy Sir along or comfort him as necessary. His devotion to Sir extends beyond the simple working relationship, a lvoe that dares not speak its name, yet finally does. By which time the performance, in all its senses, has come to an end.