Gaslight

Date 9th March 2018
Society Hilltop Theatre Company
Venue Pentyrch Village Hall
Director Sian Williams

Report

Author: Allan Mears

Gaslight is a Victorian thriller written by Patrick Hamilton in 1938, set in 1880’s London. This period piece set entirely in the drawing room of the Manningham residence, which had been adeptly and yet modestly recreated in a fine set.

The focus in this play is on the leading lady, and Melanie McLeod sustained creditably the character of Bella Manningham, as she was by turns coaxed and tormented by her husband Jack Manningham ably played by Martyn Foster Lewis who gave a mature performance as the evil, distrustful, overbearing husband, who has a dark secret from his past and who was also prone to flirting with the servants.

The very contrasting character of Rough, played very ably by Dai Williams, gave us a feeling of security amidst all the confusion of Bella and Jack’s emotions, supported by Fiona Bishop as Elizabeth who had a very difficult task in trying to appease Manningham while at the same time supporting Bella. Slightly hesitant in responses, whilst thinking how best to answer and keep Bella safe, and Laura Hallas as the saucy maid Nancy was bright and quite disrespective of her Mistress, had her eye on the Master who gave her every encouragment.

Diction was excellent from all on stage, so important in this very wordy play.

Directors Sian Williams and Hilary Evans have been fortunate to have some very talented actors at their disposal and the production team’s experience showed in this memorable play.

The box set was really well constructed with well positioned entrances and the set ‘dressing’ nicely depicting the era in which this drama was played out. Lighting effects were excellent and ‘on cue’ as the necessary dimming took place. The music used enabled that tense feeling to continue throughout. The costumes were all suited to the era, and were well thought out, complimenting the characters.

Congratulations Hilltop.