Finding the right amount of tension

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Dorothy Olney, best known for directing musicals and light comedy. steps out of her comfort zone to direct the psychological Victorian thriller, Gaslight for the Arundel Players.

Patrick Hamilton’s play opens at the Priory Playhouse Theatre, London Road, Arundel on May 19 for six nights starting at 7.45pm. Tickets cost £11 and are available on 07523 417926.

Dorothy said:“The main challenge of this classic thriller is to draw the audience into the suspense and the twists and turns of the plot by creating just the right amount of tension and the chilling atmosphere in the Victorian home of Jack and Bella Manningham.

“At first Jack appears to be a charming, if dominant, husband, but it quickly becomes apparent that he is plotting to convince his wife that she is going insane. Items go missing, the gaslights mysteriously dim and rise again and poor Bella becomes more and more distraught.

“The intrigue deepens with the appearance of a police detective called Rough, but that’s as much as I can say about the plot without spoiling the suspense, the reason why the couple move to the house and the eventual end.”

The cast of five, Deborah Addicott (Bella Manningham), Richard Greenhorn (Jack Manningham) and Philip Amor (Detective Rough) are joined by two supporting cast members, Gill Lambourn and Jamie Craker, who have both recently joined Arundel Players.

The impact and mystery of the Manningham’s murky home in fog-bound London will be created by set designer, Allan Farrow together with lighting manager, Michael Nott and their backstage team. The Victorian costumes have been designed and made by Pat Moss.

Gaslight was written by Patrick Hamilton in 1938. Encouraged by the success of the play two

films were made, the first in 1940 followed by the 1944 version directed by George Cukor and starring Charles Boyer, Ingrid Bergman and Charles Cotton.

The play and the two films gave rise to the term gaslighting, meaning .a form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented to the victim with the intent of making them doubt their memory and perception..

For any further information about Arundel Players visit www.arundelplayers.org.uk.