The Classic Victorian thriller
What a difference a day makes… Gaslight by Patrick Hamilton is set in the terrifying darkness of the late afternoon. The zero hour, as it were, before the feeble dawn of gaslight and tea… Bella Manningham’s world is crumbling around her. Convinced she is losing her mind as her Mother did before her, she desperately tries to cling onto her sanity as the Gaslights dim. With her mental state steadily deteriorating and her husband Jack’s strange behaviour, the timely arrival of a retired police detective provides Bella with some answers in Patrick Hamilton’s dark, celebrated Victorian psychological thriller.
The production is proudly sponsored by Allen Mills Howard & Company
PHOTOGRAPHS by Vishal Sharma
- Bella Manningham – Parissa Zamanpour
- Jack Manningham – Jonathan Black
- Rough – Mark Butt
- Elizabeth – Julie Broadbent
- Nancy – Vicky Siddle
Review by Rick Bowen for StageStruck
I’ve seen Patrick Hamilton’s Victorian play before and knew what was coming. However, that didn’t stop me perching on the edge of my seat more than once, feeling as trapped as poor old Bella Manningham, a woman at her wit’s end. They say you only really know someone when you live with them. But for this tormented individual, her husband Jack, who takes an almost perverted pleasure in humiliating her, has become a closed book. No wonder Bella is going out of her mind, a virtual prisoner in a house which is as cosy as your average crypt. It’s not only the house that has a past. It’s always exciting to see newcomers on the Garrick stage and after her performance as Bella Parissa Zamanpour should be swamped with offers of future work. Attractive and elegant, hers is as an amateur performance only in name. Supremely convincing, you’ll find yourself desperate for her to get one over on the horrendous Jack (Jonathan Black). But this is 1897, when many women still deferred to their husbands. Mark Butt is a delight as Rough, a character with a very unique outlook on life who is very easy to warm to. His return to this theatre is very welcome, however, I can’t really go into detail about his character’s role in the plot. Vicky Siddle impressed me when she appeared in another amateur production and does so again as the flirty maid Nancy, teasing Jack mercilessly. Director Ros Greenwood ensures the tension bubbles along beautifully and I hope the full house on Monday night is repeated more than once throughout the run. A spooky classic. Star rating ★★★★
Review by Julia Taylor for Sale and Altrincham Messenger
Cast excels in eeris psychological thriller The dank, January evening when Altrincham Garrick Playhouse present Gaslight, is reflected by the sombre stage illuminated by flickering gaslights. Director, Ros Greenwood, has adopted a unique approach by creating a constantly nightmarish feeling which keeps the audience in silent awe. The eerie atmosphere in Jack Manningham?s Victorian psychological thriller is captured throughout. It’s about a man whose mental cruelty towards his wife, drives her to the point of madness. The play’s success depends not only on the superb acting by all the cast, but also on lighting and sound effects provided by Geoff Scullard, Natasha Klein, Ros Greenwood and James Merrington. The arch-villain is Jonathan Black?s Jack Manningham. He conveys well a man who systematically terrorises his wife by inferring she is responsible for the disappearance of objects. Rare acts of kindness ‘such as a trip to the theatre’ are cancelled when he calls her half-witted. Before Jack’s true motive is revealed, he has dalliances with the maid, a flirtatious Vicky Siddle. Parissa Zamanpour is outstanding as his downtrodden wife, Bella. Every attempt to please her husband is rebuffed. Parissa’s facial expressions convey Bella’s feelings perfectly. Enter Mark Butt’s Inspector Rough. His common sense and sanity add fresh air as he unearths Jack’s criminal past. In a tense scene, his Inspector Rough and Jonathan’s Jack Cunningham confront one another like rutting stags. Only at the end do we see the light. Star rating ★★★★
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