'Must see' production of the summer

Gaslight, by Patrick Hamilton, Jill Freud & Company, Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh till August 29 and at St Edmunds Hall, Southwold from September 1-12.Hamilton's classic play is set in Victorian London against a background of fear, oppression and male domination.

David Green

Gaslight, by Patrick Hamilton, Jill Freud & Company, at St Edmunds Hall, Southwold from September 1-12.

HAMILTON's classic play is set in Victorian London against a background of fear, oppression and male domination.

Mrs Manningham is being driven towards hysteria and madness by her husband, Jack, who has a secret reason for getting his wife out of the house and into a lunatic asylum, a place where her mother died.


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Manningham, a hypocrite who hides a devious life behind a tenuously respectable fa�ade, is a man with a dodgy past and a mysterious present.

However help for his terrified wife is at hand in the form of a stranger who offers her not only bottled courage but the chance of freedom and a restoration of dignity and confidence.

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This production is undoubtedly one of the finest in the long history of Southwold and Aldeburgh Summer Theatre. Director, Richard Frost, displays a sure touch from start to finish, exploiting the script to the full and maintaining the suspense throughout.He has engineered a magnificent ensemble performance by the cast led by Paul Mooney, menacing and dangerous as the obnoxious Mr Manningham, and the versatile Ann Wenn, vulnerable and humiliated as his tortured wife, a woman who clutches at straws of happiness only to have them cruelly withdrawn.

Manninghim is more interested in low life activity - particularly Nancy, the flirtatious maid, played deliciously by Rosanna Miles - than compassion and humanity.

Ian Barritt is forceful but kind as the stranger, Rough, while there is a beautifully understated performance by the talented Nia Davies as Elizabeth, the servant quietly rooting for her mistress.

Music and lighting are sensitively used throughout this production which also benefits from a superb set, designed by Maurice Rubens - his 100 set design for this hard working company.

Tickets for Gaslight will certainly be in short supply but this production is a “must see” for all those who love good theatre.

David Green

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