Why does the gaslight flicker? Whose footsteps can be heard in the locked room overhead? Is Bella going insane as her mother did? What became of the famous Barlow Rubies when their owner was brutally murdered and who is the stranger called Rough who calls on Bella? This celebrated dark Victorian psychological thriller remains as entertaining now as when it was first produced in the 1930s, and is perfect for a pre-Christmas outing.
The play coined the term, ‘gaslighting’ – a method of mental abuse in which information is perverted, or false information is offered with the intent of making the victim distrust their own memory, perception, and sanity. The tragic English playwright and novelist, Patrick Hamilton, is perhaps best known for his play, Rope, which was later filmed by Alfred Hitchcock. His follow-up, Gaslight – subtitled ‘a Victorian thriller’ – put him into a different league of fame and and was twice famously filmed.
Cast: Jack – Colin Smith Bella – Sarah Bell Rough – Andy Perrin Nancy – Corinne Woodgate Elizabeth – Rachel Curren
Directed by Christine Davidson
“I have always loved costume drama so what could be more enticing that a Victorian Psychological thriller at Christmas time? Set in the late 19th Century we will again be having an amazing set designed by our very own Mark Tree. He designed both the sets for Blood Brothers and The Complete Female Stage Beauty for me and won applause from both for their amazing detail from the audiences. If you are looking for an alternative to panto then this renowned play is for you.”
Christine Davidson | Director
A charming traditional feeling greeted me when I arrived at the theatre; brought on by the beautiful Christmas tree with decorations all hand made by the cast. Once in the auditorium another fantastic sight was the set for Gaslight. A Victorian room, of an evidently well off couple; lots of attention to detail with the set and props, and a lovely fireplace.
Sarah Bell was brilliant as Bella Manningham. She took us on the rollercoaster that Bella undoubtedly experiences through her life. Sarah delivered such a mix of emotions, and there was great chemistry between her and Colin Smith, playing Jack Manningham which allowed them to create such tension. Colin commanded the stage, demonstrating the power and control he has over Bella. Rough, played by Andy Perrin is quite a contrast to the upper class, cold Jack. Rough is gentle and softly spoken with a traditional London accent. His appearance shakes the routine of Bella and Jack’s life. Rachel Curren played Elizabeth the housekeeper, a genuine character who clearly cares about Bella and wants to help her, but is suitably nervous around Rough and Jack. Nancy the maid is played by Corinne Woodgate, a cheeky character who visibly oversteps the mark and has no understanding of the real situation happening in the Manningham house. She thinks she is in control of Jack, but we know that he is 100% in control until the very end when he is broken by Rough. A really strong team of performers who had a great understanding of the pace of the script, and were able to use silence and gesture as well as the text to deliver the tension required for Gaslight.
The lighting, particularly the glow from the gaslights was beautifully done, well done for such attention to detail. The sound worked for the piece, and the music used enabled that tense feeling to continue. The costumes were all suited to the era, and were well thought out, complimenting the characters. A very well directed piece of theatre; I was kept on the edge of my seat until the end.
Reviewed by Alexandra Berriman NODA Rep D8 & Youth Adviser