Take a Weekend Walk Down ‘Angel Street’
Published: Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 16:11
There is no reason to complain about nothing to do in Fargo this weekend. The Tin Roof Theatre Company has made sure of that. Inaugurating its eighth season at The Stage at Island Park, Tin Roof will stun its spectators with the austere “Angel Street,” a psychological thriller in three acts.
Set in late 19th century London, “Angel Street” tells the tale of the Manninghams and the utter misery hidden beneath the seemingly gleaming surface of their lives. Jack Manningham and his wife Bella are at odd ends as he gradually builds up his wife’s convictions that she is going insane.
Bella, in fact, is just fine; it is rather her husband who is the one to worry about. A police inspector with a mystery to solve appears, and rouses suspicions about Mr. Manningham’s shrouded past. The tables slowly begin to turn, and the audience will see the suave Mr. Manningham descend into ruin, and Bella’s transformation from dilapidated caterpillar to beautiful butterfly.
“She does get revenge,” assistant director Samuel Krauth said. “Mr. Manningham is not who he says he is.”
Subtle hints to Mr. Manningham’s background are dropped throughout the performance, and eventually the mystery of his past unravels. His insinuations of Bella’s insanity as well as his puppy love with maid Nancy (Lisa Marchand) will not win him any points from the audience.
“She [Nancy] could take his wife’s place,” Marchand said. “Mr. Manningham uses her to further drive Bella insane.”
Malcolm Thompson, the actor behind the nastiness that is Jack Manningham, is fully aware that the audience will probably not think too kindly about his character.
“I think every wife will identify with Bella, and maybe me [Mr. Manningham], in the beginning,” Thompson said. “Then they will see that this guy is ruthless.”
Though Mr. Manningham’s manipulative behavior towards Bella’s sanity may be the prominent theme throughout this play, Krauth wants to be sure the audience pays attention to other aspects as well.
“The gaslights. Watch the gaslights, literally and figuratively.”
“Angel Street,” debuting in 1938 and remaining one of the longest-running plays on Broadway, originally appeared under the name “Gas Light.” Mr. Manningham’s small changes to his wife’s adjustments of their home’s gaslights further induce her to believe she is insane, as she cannot recall making the changes herself. Now slang for manipulating someone into questioning their own sanity, “gaslighting” has become a word all because of “Angel Street.”
An entertaining way to while away a few hours over this weekend, “Angel Street” is bound to be enthralling, impressive, and perhaps even pulse-pounding at moments.
“Tin Roof has a good report with the community and a fantastic history,” Krauth said. “People know what to expect, and you can’t go wrong with a Tin Roof show, you really can’t.”
Patrick Hamilton’s “Angel Street” appears at The Stage at Island Park from Nov. 8 to 10 at 7:30 p.m. with a Nov. 11 matinee at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students and seniors, and $15 for adults. A $5 student rush will take place 15 minutes prior to the performance. Tin Roof Theatre will also donate $2 from all ticket sales to the Rape and Abuse Crisis Center of Fargo-Moorhead.