The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre.
December 10, 11, 12 & 13, 2008.
by Patrick Hamilton
John Garland – Jack Manningham
Claire Wiggins – Bella Manningham
Sophie Lane – Nancy
Rosemary Mose – Elizabeth
David Creedon – Rough
Ray Hopper – First Man
Tom Harris – Second Man
Stage Manager – David Comber
Stage Manager – Tony Brownings
Deputy Stage Manager – Zara Spanton
ASM – Olive Smith
Set Design – David Comber
Lighting Design – Mike Medway
Lighting Operator – Lee Wenham
Music Composed & Produced – Steve Gallant
Props – Margaret Davy
Props – Sue Whittaker
Wardrobe – Cherry Briggs
Wardrobe – Margaret Pierce
Workshop Team – David Comber
Workshop Team – David Collis
Workshop Team – Carl Gray
Workshop Team – Paul Checkley
Workshop Team – Sue Chaplin
Workshop Team – Sheila Neesham
Workshop Team – Margaret Davy
Workshop Team – Judith Berrill
Publicity – Rosemary Bouchy
Publicity – Anna Barden
Publicity – Rosemary Brown
Production Photographs – Lucien Bouchy
Front of House – Betty Dawes
Programme Note #1: Gaslight
DR wrote: “Patrick Hamilton came from a family of failed writers and left school at just 15, with no qualifications and no apparent prospects except for the ambition to be a writer! Despite the raffish existence he subsequently led, by the age of 25 his first play, Rope, was running the West End and he ha written the first of a number of successful novels. Hamilton struggled to follow this stage success, but finally in 1938 Gaslight was written.
The play opened in the West End in 1938 and was even more successful than Rope had been. It also went on to have a very successful run on Broadway with the title Angel Street. However, many people will know Gaslight only through the two screen versions, the 1940 British one being less well known than the 1944 American film in which Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for her portrayal of Bella Manningham.
Neither of the films is very faithful to the play, both finding it necessary to give the plot a ‘back story’, which means it takes an age to get to the heart of the wonderfully sinister play which Patrick Hamilton wrote and you will see tonight.”
Publicity #1: Gaslight
Publication: The Advertiser
Publication Data: November 26 2008 issue – page 20
Text Header: Chills and thrills in suspense tale
THERE will be chills, thrills and shivers down the spine in Wick Theatre Company’s production of Gaslight, one of the tensest suspense stories ever staged. Patrick Hamilton’s gripping play, set in Victorian London, has been chosen to round off Wick’s highly-successful 60th anniversary season.
In Bella Manningham’s outwardly respectable middle-class home, something spooky is going on. She hears footsteps in unoccupied rooms, the gas light fades for no apparent reason, and worse still, familiar objects keep disappearing. Is poor, terrified Bella going mad, as her mother did? Husband Jack, cold and domineering seems to believe so.
Elizabeth, the Manningham’s solid and reliable cook/housekeeper is clearly supportive of her mistress, but Bella’s state of mind isn’t helped by the obvious contempt of the young maid, Nancy, who is a devious flirt. The plot thickens with the unexpected arrival of Sergeant Rough, a retired detective. As he begins to explain his visit, it becomes clear that something sinister is at work.
Director Diane Robinson has chosen a highly-experienced cast to bring this atmospheric play to life. John Garland plays Jack Manningham, with Claire Wiggins as his wife, Bella. David Creedon is Rough, the ex-detective, and Rosemary Mose, Elizabeth. Sophie Lane, a talented member of the Young Wick Group, appears as Nancy.
Performances run from Wednesday, December 10, to Saturday, December 13, at 7.45pm at the Barn Theatre, Southwick Street, Southwick. Tickets £8.50 from the box office on 01273 597094 or www.wicktheatre.co.uk
Review #1: Gaslight
Publication: Shoreham Herald
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Sam Woodman
Text Header: Unknown
The curtain came down on Wick Theatre Company’s hugely successful diamond anniversary season at the weekend.
The group was founded 60 years ago and the final show of the season was Patrick Hamilton’s chilling play, Gaslight.
Set in Victorian London, the play was full of things that go bump in the night, a feared descent into lunacy and, of course, the flickering, titular gaslights. Nothing was ever quite as it seemed, and it took a thoroughly entertaining David Creedon as Inspector Rough to convince Bella Manningham [Claire Wiggins] that he wasn’t a figment of her imagination. John Garland was convincing as Bella’s husband, the menacing Jack Manningham, with his Jekyll and Hyde personality, with Sophie Lane and Rosemary Mose in fine form as servants Nancy and Elizabeth.
Mike Medway’s lighting design added to them tension, with the gaslights seemingly lit by the player’s matches, with Steve Gallant’s original music adding to the eerie feeling.
Review #2: Gaslight
Publication: Brighton Argus
Publication Data: Unknown
Reviewer: Barrie Jerram
Text Header: Unknown
This psychological thriller, set in Victorian London, makes an interesting study of an abusive marriage within an atmospheric framework of suspense that takes place within a finely constructed Victorian drawing room complete with gaslights that play an important rôle in the plot.
Jack Manningham is a bully, whose patronising and sarcastic way of dealing with his wife, Bella, is a deliberate attempt to drive her mad – a man of mystery disappearing at night, only to return secretly wandering the locked upper floor of their house. The key to the mystery is provided with the arrival of Rough, a retired police inspector, delightfully played by David Creedon. Not only does he manage to create suspense in a way that brings to mind John Laurie at his best but he also brings to the part a sense of impish fun.
Claire Wiggins captures well the anguish of Bella and her vulnerability without over doing the hysteria. She makes the most of a neat twist at the end. As the bullying husband, John Garland is sadly less successful. His vocal delivery, ponderous and stilted most of the time, makes a caricature rather than a character. A less melodramatic performance was needed.
Review #3: Gaslight
Publication: Remote Goat – online
Publication Data: December 12 2008
Reviewer: Jill Lawrie
Text Header: “A tense sinister Victorian tale”
Celebrating the end of their 60th anniversary year, the Wick Theatre Company performed ‘Gaslight’, a Victorian melodrama written in 1938 by Patrick Hamilton, which initially opened in the West End and went to Broadway as ‘Angel Street’.
This is a chilling tale of suspense and tension. A cold brutal domineering husband Jack Manningham systematically convinces his rather delicate obedient wife Beth Manningham into believing that she is slowly going mad! Items disappear, lights flicker ~ fading and glowing, footsteps are heard overhead! The comforting homely maid Elizabeth being Bella’s only ally, as the younger servant Nancy has set her cap at the master!
Just as Bella reaches breaking point, salvation arrives in the form of a delightful, often whimsical character, the semi retired detective Sergeant Rough. His comical description of Scotch being “delicious ~ somewhere between ambrosia and methylated spirits” and he prescribes this for poor Bella, while he relates the sordid details from 20 years before, until finally unfolding to a nail-biting climax.
The Director, Diane Robinson, has used a fabulous boxed set, deserving a top star rating in itself! Exquisitely decorated as a Victorian sitting room complete with drapes, stone fireplace, period furniture and many well sourced pictures, props and authentic costumes. The creative lighting captured the atmosphere superbly from the fading daylight beyond the window ~ to the ghostly flickering gas lamps creating both a glowing warmth and an icy chill!
Her casting was brilliant John Garland (Jack Manningham) was every bit the forceful arrogant Victorian husband, contrasting with the submissive fragility of Claire Wiggins (Bella Manningham). Both Sophie Lane (Nancy) and Rosemary Mose (Elizabeth) played convincing household servants. The ultimate accolade going to David Creedon (Sergeant Rough) for his exceptional portrayal in this vibrant animated role, much enhanced by his Irish charm!
This was an excellent production enjoyed by a near capacity audience from a company who can be guaranteed to produce a first class show every time.
Their next production in the Spring of 2009 ~ ‘Abigail’s Party’ will be eagerly awaited.