01:49PM, Friday 20 September 2019
With psychological abuse and especially gaslighting (which took its name from the play) featuring in social and news media of late.
I expected that Gaslight,a 1938 play by Patrick Hamiliton, would be the decent into madness of loving Wife Bella played by Charlotte Emmerson, tormented by her narcissistic Husband, James Wilby. What we experienced was so much more.
Wilby’s performance took us through a range of emotions, from admonishing to playful to hurt and increasingly sinister throughout the performance, with Emmerson reactions equally powerful, making you want to scream at the stage “Get away from that vile man, can’t you see!”.
Even to the end one believed that she was truly brainwashed.
Bella’s saviour came in the form of Detective Rough (Martin Shaw), introducing further twists to the plot as well as humour and Irish charm, adding to our emotional journey of discovery.
Mary Chater’s loyal maid Elizabeth (who you felt knew what was happening, but was powerless to help) and Georgia Clarke-Day’s entitled and naughty junior maid Nancy, Bella’s paranoia induced competitor, provided great support to the primary players, especially allowing Wilby to demonstrate further nuances of character.
We were alternatively glued to our seats and jumping with fright throughout the performance through amazing staging by Lucy Bailey (Director), lighting, sets, sound and projection creating an almost immersive experience.
The Play runs to 28th September at the Windsor Theatre Royal and is a must see!
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