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Gaslight at Limelight Theatre

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Moody brew of psychological intrigue in Victorian thriller
Gaslight, Limelight Theatre, Victorian thriller, performing arts, intrigue, stage, Wanneroo, classic
Inspector Rough (Chris Juckes, right) comes to the aid of Bella (Emma Shaw) in Gaslight at Limelight Theatre.
A mystery of dimming gaslight and footsteps in the night, matched with the timeless theme of marital manipulation, form the basis of a popular Victorian thriller on show at Limelight Theatre this autumn. Written by Patrick Hamilton and directed by Karen Tropiano, Gaslight is set in 1880 and focuses on the Manninghams suave Jack Manningham is slowly psychologically torturing his wife Bella into insanity.

When she is visited by Inspector Rough, he convinces her that Jack is a maniacal criminal wanted for a murder committed 15 years ago. Bella then gains confidence in herself, as she works with the inspector to build up evidence against her husband.

"I wanted to do something that would appeal to the Limelight Theatre audience," Karen said. "Gaslight is a well-known classic and most would remember the film starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer made in the 1940s."

Gaslight, Limelight Theatre, Victorian thriller, performing arts, intrigue, stage, Wanneroo, classic
Karen Tropiano, left, is directing the Victorian thriller Gaslight featuring Colleen Hopkins, Chris Juckes, Andrew Govey, Robert Usarago, Emma Shaw and Ellie Bawden.

Performing with Limelight and Stirling Theatres for more than 20 years, Karen has also directed numerous plays including Secret Bridesmaids' Business, Play On, Lend Me A Tenor and Abigail's Party. She directed Nunsense in 2009, named runner-up best musical at the annual Finley Awards and production of the year at the Limelight Theatre Awards, and also staged the sequel Nunsense II in 2014, winner of the Finley Award for best set.

In 2012, Karen directed Cash On Delivery, named one of the top 10 plays of the year at the Finley Awards, also winning an award for its washing machine effect. Abigail's Party also scored her a certificate for authenticity at the Finley Awards the following year.

"With Gaslight, the lighting is imperative to evoke the right mood so that's the main challenge with this show," Karen said.

Gaslight, Limelight Theatre, Victorian thriller, performing arts, intrigue, stage, Wanneroo, classic
Jack Manningham (Andrew Govey) psychologically torments his wife Bella (Emma Shaw) in the Victorian thriller Gaslight.

Andrew Govey plays Jack Manningham."His appearance and suave persona belie his real self and personal ambition," he said. "Jack is dangerous, cruel and manipulative and motivated solely by personal gain.

"The challenge is becoming a character that is so unlike the real me in so many respects it would be nice to think characters like this don't exist but the reality is they do and likely always will."

Acting on and off for the past 30 years, Andrew first performed as the lead boy in the Pied Piper of Hamelin in the UK. Since moving to WA, he has appeared with the Old Mill, Stirling and Limelight Theatres in numerous productions, scoring acting awards for roles in The Late Edwina Black, Sailor Beware, In Camera, Abigail's Party, Cash on Delivery and The 39 Steps.

"Gaslight appealed because I have never had the opportunity to play a character quite like this," Andrew said.

Gaslight plays at 8pm March 31, April 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. Tickets are $21, $18 concession book on 0499 954 016 between 9am and midday, Monday to Friday, or at www.limelighttheatre.com. Limelight Theatre is located on Civic Drive, Wanneroo.

Gaslight, Limelight Theatre, Victorian thriller, performing arts, intrigue, stage, Wanneroo, classic
The cheeky housemaid Nancy (Ellie Bawden, right) tests the patience of Bella (Emma Shaw) in Gaslight.

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Why? It's a classic Victorian thriller with all the trappings of the era.
When: 8pm March 31, April 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16
Phone: 0499 954 016
Where: Limelight Theatre, Civic Drive, Wanneroo
Cost: $21, $18 concession
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