Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Angel Street"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2007 by Tony Annicone

"Angel Street"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Little Theater of Fall River's current show is "Angel Street", a Victorian thriller written by Patrick Hamilton in 1938. It was made into an award-winning movie called "Gaslight" which starred Ingrid Bergman in an Oscar-winning performance. A Broadway hit first produced in London under the title "Gaslight'', "Angel Street" tells the story of the Manningham's who live on Angel Street in London in 1880. It is set in Victorian London and tells the diabolic tale of Jack Mannigham who embarks on a treacherous scheme to drive his well-to-do wife insane. When the show begins, all appears peaceful. It is soon apparent that Manningham, a suavely sinister and handsome man, is slowly torturing his gentle, lovely wife into insanity under the guise of kindness. While he is out, Mrs. Manningham has an unexpected caller amiable, paternal Inspector Rough from Scotland Yard. Rough is convinced that Manningham is a maniacal criminal wanted for a murder committed fifteen years ago in this very house. Does Mrs. Manningham believe the inspector? The secret of the dimming of the gaslight and the mystery of the hidden rubies will captivate the audience with all its twists and turns. Under the expert hand of director Steven Kay, this suspenseful show with its talented cast will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish and their reward is a well deserved standing ovation at the curtain call.

Steven casts his show very well and blocks it splendidly with the cat and mouse chase. He also infuses it with clever comic bits to mix in with the suspenseful moments. Steven's Victorian set design is perfect and the costumes by Fran Petisca are lovely, too. Heading this cast is Carol Oliva as the long suffering wife, Bella. She is excellent as the woman who thinks she is descending into madness and is relieved when the Inspector restores her confidence in herself. Her acting and accent are splendid and her final scene has the audience cheering at her decision. Playing her smarmy evil husband, Jack is veteran actor, Robert Duquette. He oozes his charm at first but his bad tempered cad-like behavior eventually creeps through. Robert who looks like Robert Goulet, fits this role perfectly with his sadistic behavior toward his wife and his loving, flirtatious behavior toward Nancy, the Cockney maid. The comic Inspector who saves the day, is played by Clifford Wood. He reminds you of Nigel Bruce from the old Sherlock Holmes movies. Clifford has many fantastic one liners and he makes all of them hit paydirt. His acting and antics are topnotch, too.

The slutty, Cockney maid, Nancy is well played by Suzanne Bergeron. Her snippy behavior towards her mistress is apparent from the first time she enters the stage and the kissing scene with her master in the second act is potent as well as comical. The proper British maid, Elizabeth played by Ann Flynn, stands by her mistress and helps to keep the Inspector's visit a secret from her horrible master. Rounding out the cast is Keith Lassonde as the Policeman who helps Inspector Rough capture the villain. So for a dynamite thriller, be sure to catch "Angel Street" in Fall River. You will be glad you did.

"Angel Street" (19 - 29 July)
THE LITTLE THEATRE OF FALL RIVER
The Fire Barn, 340 Prospect Street, FALL RIVER MA
1 (508) 675-1852

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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