While Jack Manningham is out on the town each evening, his wife Bella (Pike), stays at home alone, believing she’s losing her mind: she can’t explain the disappearance of familiar objects, the mysterious footsteps overhead or the ghostly flickering of living room gaslights. However, questions about Jack’s behaviour and true identity are aroused following the unexpected arrival of Detective Rough (Cranham).
English novelist and playwright Patrick Hamilton (whose other big theatrical hit was Rope) wrote Gaslight for the stage in 1938. It was adapted for the British screen in 1940 and, four years later, was made into a much more famous Hollywood version directed by George Cukor and starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. Bergman won a Best Actress Oscar for her role as the psychologically terrorised young wife.
Rosamund Pike received a Best Actress nomination in this year’s Whatsonstage.com Theatregoers’ Choice Awards for her role in Adrian Noble’s recent West End revival of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke and also starred in Terry Johnson’s Hitchcock Blonde (Royal Court and West End). Her film credits include Pride and Prejudice, Die Another Day, The Libertine and the upcoming Fracture, with Anthony Hopkins.
Kenneth Cranham’s extensive stage credits at the National, RSC and elsewhere, include, Endgame, The UN Inspector, Flight, An Inspector Calls, School for Scandal and The Novice. His screen credits include Layer Cake, The Boxer, Chocolat and Hot Fuzz on film and, most recently on TV, Rome, in which he played Pompey Magnus.
Playwright-director Peter Gill’s recent directing credits include The Voysey Inheritance, Scenes from the Big Picture, Speed the Plough and productions of his own plays The York Realist and Certain Young Men. Gaslight is designed by Hayden Griffin. No further casting has yet been announced.
Currently at the Old Vic, Sean Holmes’ acclaimed 50th anniversary revival of John Osborne’s The Entertainer, starring Robert Lindsay as Archie Rice, finishes its extended season on 27 May (See News, 16 Mar 2007).
- by Terri Paddock