Gaslight A Thriller by Patrick Hamilton


 Gaslight FlyerA bell clangs in the early evening gloom of a foggy Victorian street as the muffin man does his rounds, while in the tall, forbidding house which is becoming her prison, Bella Manningham is slowly losing her mind. Her husband's tyranny and the insolence of her housemaid, plus the air of mystery in her home, have driven her almost to breaking-point ...  So the scene was set for Lucilla Dramatic Society's autumn production - Patrick Hamilton's powerful thriller, "Gaslight".

Set at the end of the last century, the play shows how a married woman in those days was completely controlled by her husband, and had very little chance to make her voice heard, even when trapped in a situation like Bella, the wife in this piece.

While Jack Manningham goes out on the town each evening, his wife cowers alone in her room, lit by the shadowy gaslight, listening to the mysterious footsteps overhead. When an unexpected visitor turns out to be an ex-policeman, Sergeant Rough, Bella realises she's caught in some very sinister happenings. This production (the company's first as Lucilla DS) took place 60 years almost to the week, after the play's first opening at Richmond on 5th December 1938. Moira Weston - returning to Lucilla after a long absence - played the very demanding role of Bella, while Mike Ouirke played her tyrant husband Jack.

Other Lucilla stalwarts in the cast were Gordon Craig as Sergeant Rough, and Hillary Turner as Elizabeth, Bella's loyal housekeeper. Cheeky housemaid Nancy was played by Jackie Mercer, a newcomer to Lucilla.

Directed by Iris Collinson, "Gaslight" was at Crosby Civic Hall on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 12/13/14 November 1998.

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