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Previewed 7 June 2007, Opened 14 June 2007, Closed 18 August 2007 at the Old Vic Theatre in London
A major revival of Patrick Hamilton's 'Victorian thriller' Gaslight in London starring Rosamund Pike and Kenneth Cranham.
"In this house, I can tell everything by the light of the gas. You see that mantle there. Now it's burning full. But if an extra light went on in the kitchen, or someone lit it in the bedroom, then this one would sink down. It's the same all over the house." The powerful story of Bella Manningham a young woman psychologically dominated by her husband, Jack Manningham. While Jack is out on the town each evening, his wife stays at home alone, believing she's losing her mind: she can't explain the disappearance of familiar objects, the mysterious footsteps overhead upstairs or the ghostly flickering of the living room gaslights. But then questions about her husband's behaviour and true identity are aroused following the unexpected arrival of a Police Detective.
The cast of Gaslight in London features Rosamund Pike as 'Bella Manningham', Andrew Woodall as 'Jack Manningham' and Kenneth Cranham as 'Detective Rough' along with Rowena Cooper as 'Elizabeth' and Sally Tatum as 'Nancy'. It is directed by Peter Gill with designs by Hayden Griffin, lighting by Hartley TA Kemp, music by David Shrubsole and sound by David McSeveney.
"The impossibly luminous Rosamund Pike pitches Bella's fragility and desperation just right. She is all fraught and frenetic, nervous and frantic, with an edge of manic hysteria... It all perks up immeasurably with the entrance of Kenneth Cranham's Detective Rough... He appears to inhabit a different play from Rosamund Pike's - she is in a melodramatic tragedy, he in a comedy. And this is part of the problem. For a thriller, there is remarkable absence of suspense. What director Peter Gill does instead is ramp up the humour, although the audience is still unsure exactly where to laugh... A stylish production, but not for those seeking subtlety." The Daily Express
"As a bit-part actor who accompanied his actress sister on tour in the Twenties, Patrick Hamilton was familiar with the mechanics of Victorian melodrama. But his play, Gaslight, is more than a pastiche: it's both a psychological thriller and a portrait of an ugly marriage... While being wonderfully alert to its creepiness, Peter Gill's excellent production also invites us to laugh at the play's hammier moments: 'Sir, did you want me?' says the maid, more than a mite suggestively. 'Yes, Nancy, I do want you,' replies the smouldering master. Andrew Woodall plays him as one of those intemperate public-school bullies who intimidates and humiliates but never fails to say 'Please'. Rosamund Pike is very good indeed; a pitifully fraught and frightened wife rescued when an (ex) inspector calls. Kenneth Cranham's darling Detective Rough is a sort of guardian angel who appears from nowhere and recommends a tot of magic medicine (from Scotland) 'to remove dark fears and doubts' before solving the mystery. Gaslight is old-fashioned entertainment still burning bright." The Mail on Sunday
"After A Moon for the Misbegotten and The Entertainer, Gaslight might seem a bit middle, if not actually low, brow for the Old Vic. The veteran director Peter Gill's approach to Patrick Hamilton's old penny dreadful is, however, utterly reverential, and the theatre has to be given top marks for trying something new... This is very much the sort of play that only an American with a charmingly outdated idea of what the British are like - and what they regard as entertainment - would dream of staging in London in 2007. Kevin Spacey, the Old Vic's well-intentioned artistic director, may yet have the last laugh... Overseas visitors - particularly from America - and couples aged 65 and over who hanker for a genre of theatre that is now all but extinct will, I predict, flock to this wonderful old anachronism." The Sunday Telegraph
"This 1938 play, set in about 1880, is pure Victorian melodrama, done with complete seriousness. There is no po-mo tongue in ironic cheek here, neither in the writing nor the production, and it adds up to an enjoyable piece of hokum, especially in the hands of a directorial old master like Peter Gill. It's strangely but deeply satisfying, for once, to have a story with a wicked husband, a virtuous wife and a good old-fashioned policeman -and that's it. There is absolutely no character development or complexity... Rosamund Pike invests [Bella] with real innocence and a sudden, climactic attainment of some strength of character that almost makes you cheer... Kenneth Cranham gives an absolutely sterling performance as Detective Rough." The Sunday Times
Patrick Hamilton's Gas Light, described as a Victorian thriller in three acts, was first presented in December 1938 and has been filmed twice: first a British version in 1940 which was directed by Thorold Dickinson, and then a MGM version in 1944 which was directed by George Cukor and starred Ingrid Bergman, who won an Oscar for her performance. Patrick Hamilton's other plays include Rope, which was famously made into a film by Alfred Hitchock, Hamilton also wrote a number of novels including Hangover Square and Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky, which was adapted for television by the BBC in 2005.
Gaslight in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 7 June 2007, opened on 14 June 2007 and closed on 18 August 2007.