by Patrick Hamilton
directed by Paula Stein
Do you like dark and mysterious (psychologically dark and hauntingly mysterious, that is) dramas? Paula Stein does. At least that seems to be true as she previously directed “Wait Until Dark” at the Adobe Theater and she will bring “Angel Street” by Patrick Hamilton to the same stage in July. “Angel Street,” a classic mystery set in fogbound London 1880, is known to many people as the movie “Gas Light”, starring Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. The story is much the same but even more intense in the intimate setting of a small theater: Jack Manningham (Dale Simpkins) and Bella Manningham (Teresa Kizziah) have been married for five years but now he seems to be intent on driving his wife mad. The mystery is why he would do this, and what makes their new house so unnerving?
Paula Stein was a drama director at Manzano High School for twenty-five years and uses her vast experience to build suspense. Jack constantly reminds Bella that her mother went mad, and he blames her for the relocation or disappearance of various objects. Two servants take sides with either the husband or the wife, and the flirtatious young maid, Nancy (Anne Sheridan) is willing to do “what ever” the husband wants, while the housekeeper, Elizabeth (Madelon Brown) sympathizes with the wife.
Into this tense situation comes a strange intruder, Detective Rough (Stephen Zamora), who clearly wishes to help Bella but who further upsets her. He solves the mystery of the gas lights which she thinks periodically dim and then grow brighter, but he needs evidence to confirm his suspicions to prevent another murder taking place.
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