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Angel Street (Gaslight)

Angel Street (Gaslight)
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Patrick Hamilton
Publisher: Samuel French, Inc.
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 117
Pub. Date: 1966
ISBN-10: 0573605351
ISBN-13: 9780573605352
Cast Size: 3 female, 2 male

About the Play:

Angel Street / Gaslight was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

Angel Street (also known as Gaslight) is a full-length thriller by Patrick Hamilton. A prosperous couple in Victorian London is driven apart when the arrogant and brutal husband starts to convince his hysterical wife she is going out of her mind. Objects disappear; the gas lights dim at a certain time each evening; she hears footsteps on the floor above her bedroom. Angel Street / Gaslight captivates the audience from start to finish and keeps them guessing. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

Angel Street tells the story of the Manninghams who live on Angel Street in 19th Century London. As the curtain rises, all appears the essence of Victorian tranquillity. It is soon apparent however, that the malevolent Jack Manningham, a suavely handsome man, is slowly driving his gentle, devoted wife Bella, to the brink of insanity with an insinuating kindness which masks more sinister motives. He makes her think she is forgetting things and rattles her nerves with the flickering gaslight, which he controls from another room. One day, when Jack is out, Bella has an unexpected caller: kindly Inspector Rough from Scotland Yard. Rough is convinced that Jack is a homicidal maniac wanted for a murder committed fifteen years earlier in this very house. Gradually the Inspector restores Bella's confidence in herself and as the evidence against Jack unfolds, the author has built and sustained some of the most brilliant, suspenseful sequences in modern theatre. A classic thriller, Angel Street (also known as Gaslight) is one of Broadway's longest running non-musicals. It was filmed twice using its British title, Gaslight. The king of all psychological thrillers, the impact of the film was so great that the title entered the language as a verb ("gaslighting") meaning to use lies and deception to make someone question their sanity.

First produced under the title Gaslight in 1938 at the Apollo Theatre in the West End of London, the retitled play Angel Street opened on Broadway in 1941 at the John Golden Theatre and ran for close to 1,300 performances. The show enjoyed numerous revivals, including a production Off-Broadway 1948 at New York City Center, with legendary actress and teacher Uta Hagen taking on the role Mrs. Manningham. With its single set and clear, integral lighting requirements, the play remains a popular choice for community theatre productions and is an ideal choice for school drama contests and festivals.

Cast: 3 female, 2 male and 2 extras

What people say:

"The critics call it the biggest dramatic hit in New York." — New York Mirror

"I have just seen the theatre really come alive for the first time this season. One of the most satisfying theatre adventures of the last decade." — New York News

"There is a particular reason for welcoming with open arms the excellent new melodrama… It really can keep you anchored to your seat bolt upright – a work that is everything one could hope for." — New York Herald Tribune

"Since its U.S. premiere in 1941, Patrick Hamilton's Angel Streetlater filmed as Gaslighthas been a favorite thriller on the country's stages. There's good reason. The play is impeccably crafted, with just a hint of things awry at the beginning, the action building suspensefully during one evening until its strong denouement when the loose ends are neatly tied." — Los Angeles Times

About the Playwright:

Patrick Hamilton (1904-1962) was an English playwright and novelist. His plays include the thrillers Rope, on which Alfred Hitchcock's film of the same name was based, and Gaslight, also successfully adapted for the screen. One of the most gifted and admired writers of his generation, The Sunday Telegraph said: "His finest work can easily stand comparison with the best of this more celebrated contemporaries George Orwell and Graham Greene."

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