By Ciaran Milton
No Drama’s Gaslight at Smock Alley is highly recommended.
In one sense the staging of this play could not be more timely, given that its title has now become a byword for gender-skewed manipulation and bullying. In another sense it is a treat to watch a straight up stage-thriller from the forties performed so adroitly and, in a wise choice, without any ironic winks to the modern audience.
The cast are so game and committed that Patrick Hamilton’s plot mechanics are allowed to ratchet to their inevitable conclusion.
Elizabeth Ann Doyle is excellent as Bella Manningham, vulnerable to the exploitations of her husband – a schemer of mysterious intent who from the outset undermines her sense of worth and sanity – but maybe not as vulnerable as we think.
Philip Arneill as her gimlet eyed husband (and our evening’s antagonist) eyes his surroundings and anyone in his orbit with the right balance of entitlement, greed and, inevitably, fear.
Declan Ryan brings levity and charm to the occasionally oleaginous role of Detective Rough, the spanner in Mr. Manningham’s works.
The production is a huge success, and a wonderful thriller to be engrossed in for the evening.
And No Drama stalwarts Helen McGrath and Siobhan Hickey make sure-footed work of the roles of the maids caught in the proxy snares of the house – Elizabeth meaning only to work for both their benefit, but Nancy clearly eyeing the sides for her advantage.
Tickets: €15 | €12 student/OAP/unwaged concession
Tickets available from https://smockalley.com/gaslight/