(By Patrick Hamilton)
This is a classic Victorian thriller set in 1880’s London.
Jack Manningham is slowly and deliberately driving his wife, Bella Manningham, insane. He has almost succeeded when help for Mrs Manningham arrives in the form of a former detective, Rough. Rough believes Mr Manningham has a sinister secret and seeks Mrs Manningham’s help in unmasking her husband’s past....
This play premiered successfully in London in 1938 before travelling to America under the name, ’Angel Street’. There it was a huge hit and it remains one of the longest-running non-musicals in Broadway history with 1,295 total performances.
It was converted to film (1940 and 1944) and won two Oscars from seven nominations at the 1945 Academy Awards.
In 1965, writers began using the play’s title as a verb, "gaslighting". In this context, ’gaslighting’ is the mental manipulation of a person or a group of people in a way similar to the way the protagonist in the play (Bella Manningham) was manipulated.