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posted 3 Sep 2016, 06:43 by Alison Woodward
Wycliffe Drama Group
By Patrick Hamilton

“Gaslight”, a Victorian thriller, has never lost its power to grip audiences. It is set in a claustrophic late Victorian sitting room, over-decorated, gloomy and gas lit. The Wycliffe Drama Group had to move from Lutterworth College to the smaller Wycliffe Rooms for this play so staging had to be minimal, but they still succeeded admirably.

The play tells the story of a young wife, Bella Manningham, who is terrified that she is going mad, as items go missing and the gaslight dims and flickers. Jack, her husband, appears charming and distressed about his wife, but is he all that he seems?

The actors were excellent. I have rarely seen a more terrified Bella. Melanie Lee utterly captured the essence of a wife who is being mentally abused. Russell Grant, as Jack, let us see the cruelty beneath his affable manner. Keith Parkin , as Inspector Rough, had the difficult task of making us believe a stranger could  come into a house and gain the trust of a very disturbed and frightened woman, and free the brave person inside her. Keith succeeded, his avuncular Rough had gravitas and honesty. The housekeeper, Elizabeth, (Mary McDermott), conveyed in few words her loyalty to Bella and fear of her employer. Nic Campbell was Nancy, the sexy maid, who was “a nasty bit of work” eager to take Bella’s place.

This was entertainment at its best, WDG never let us down!