Angel Street (Gaslight) | The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

AngelStreet(Gaslight) 75The complicated, jaw dropping technical components of this show are what make it a must-see!

 

 

 

AngelStreet(Gaslight) 500

With Halloween right around the corner, The Rep’s production of Patrick Hamilton’s psychological thriller Angel Street couldn’t have been better timed! The weather here in St. Louis has just begun to take on the signature chill of fall, which makes settling in to watch a mystery unravel—in a warm theatre with a cup of coffee in hand—all the more perfect. Although the plot has moments of slow progression, Angel Street is suspenseful in the most satisfying way; it sends your mind racing in an attempt to analyze possible explanations for the eerie occurrences onstage and covers your skin in goose bumps in the process. 

Set in a house on Angel Street, in the Pimlico district of London in the 1880s, we’re introduced to a household of four. There’s husband and wife, Jack and Bella Manningham (Clark Scott Carmichael and Janie Brookshire) and their two maids Elizabeth (Amelia White) and Nancy (Rachel Kenney). No time is wasted in revealing the major conflict plaguing the residence. Bella believes she is going insane. As of late, she has taken to moving and hiding items in the house—or so her extremely stern, fed up hubby claims. She doesn’t remember doing such things, and the massive confusion of it all causes her to be extremely anxious, constantly worried that Jack will discover another one of her so-called wicked tricks.

Her mental stability is worsened by the fact that Jack leaves her alone in the big, spooky home almost every evening. Like clockwork, she’s begun to notice the gaslights dimming around the house shortly after Jack departs. Bella believes there’s only one reasonable explanation for this: someone else must be turning on a light elsewhere in the house. This would explain the noises she’s been hearing from the third floor; however, this level of the home has been closed off since the couple moved in. She herself has never stepped foot up there. Of course, to Jack, this wild idea is yet further proof that his wife is crazy. As an audience member, you feel terribly for poor Bella, who is just absolutely sick with distress. There is, however, one man who takes the “insane” woman at her word, Detective Rough (Geoffrey Wade). He drops in on Bella one evening after Jack has left and suggests that, perhaps, Jack isn’t who he says he is. The detective’s entry is what really puts the show in full throttle, and, suddenly, you’re not sure whom to believe. Is this man really a detective or…is he just a figment of Bella’s imagination?

Typically, when writing reviews, I save my praise of a show’s set for last, but I can’t contain my excitement about Angel Street’s scenic design a second longer! Scenic Designer Wilson Chin absolutely outdid himself on this one! Visually, this production is absolutely superb—the best I’ve ever seen at The Rep! Combined with Peter E. Sargent’s flawless lighting design and Rusty Wandall’s skin crawling sound effects, the atmosphere of this production is a treat. These components are just as important to the show as its characters.

Geoffrey Wade is the shining star of this production as Detective Rough. This character is the polar opposite of Jack. He’s gentle and understanding; characteristics audience members long for after scenes plagued by Jack’s harsh treatment of Bella. Better still, Detective Rough is the show’s much-needed comic relief, and Wade’s delivery is flawless.

This play was originally titled, Gaslight, and you may have seen the 1944 movie of the same name, starring Ingrid Bergman. If you have, note that the movie and play are not direct reflections of one another. There’s much to be discovered in this stage version. The acting is wonderful and the plot is entrancing, but the complicated, jaw dropping technical components of this show are what make it a must-see! | Megan Washausen

Angel Street (Gaslight) runs through November 8. For ticket information, visit repstl.org. 

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply