Grand Opera House, York – 30 January to 4 February. Reviewed by Marcus Richardson
Gaslight is Amazing, I can only start that way as I fell head over heels for it.
The play set in the 1930s starts out everything seeming normal between a married couple, and then we learn new things and witness new acts, drawing us into the pool of immersion and hidden truths. Everything about it oozed the different aspects of theatre I love; an impacting story, a twist and of course good acting.
I would first like to say a massive “thank you” to the cast for pulling off an amazing show and for making the first act seem like twenty minutes and me wanting more.
Kara Tointon who played the leading role of Bella Manningham, was just sheer perfection everything about the ways she portrayed the character, to the way that she interacted with each of the other characters and how subtle changes she made and different attitudes that were so believable, brought this character to life.
The other actor who stood out for me was Keith Allen who played Rough, that’s the character’s name, though he played it far from rough. The character was witty and very funny in situations but also making sure he didn’t ruin certain more serious moments. When he first appeared on stage as the character I was a bit unsure about it as it just seemed rather silly, but then I got a feel for the character and then I ended up loving him. His relationship on stage with Tointon was so personal and so true even if the characters had just met it just seemed right.
All the other characters and the two maid who did the most amazing job bringing that homely charm with a repeating ‘yes, sir’ after anyone spoke made for a light comedy effect. The staging was very nice with a very naturalistic and homely feel (with a few secrets), it dragged you into the story even more as if you were watching an episode of Downton Abbey but in less room. It gave a lot for the characters working with the stage interacting with little things such as candles of the fair place or to looking at books on the bookshelf, it gave the show life that in a way seems to be so close to ours, yet we are reminded that we are watching a show.
At points they can be facing away from the audience which I quite liked because, yes they do have to play to the audience it drew us in and it let us get emotionally involved a kept us suspended.
Overall this has been one of the best shows I’ve seen in a while and I would highly and I mean highly recommend that people should go and see it. I find it very hard to be so immersed into a play that it makes the first act seem like it finishes in a blink of an eye, so for that to happen to me I was impressed. It touches on issues that still has relevance today and gives the audience a form on connection that way. It will be on at the York Grand Opera House until the 4th of February so go and see it!