Watford Palace Theatre is to stage a radical re-imagining of Patrick Hamilton’s classic psychological thriller, Gaslight, this autumn, it has been announced.
Richard Beecham directs the tense drama in which a husband attempts to convince his wife that she is going mad.
This bold new production transplants the action from Victorian London to a 21st century safe house in which a group of women, fleeing domestic abuse, re-enact Hamilton’s play.
As the story unfolds, the women’s own experiences and emotions surface to cathartic effect. Together they discover the strength to begin building a brighter future.
The 1938 West End smash-hit gave rise to the term ‘gaslighting’ – a form of psychological abuse where one person attempts to manipulate another into questioning their own sanity.
Brigid Larmour, artistic director and chief executive of Watford Palace Theatre, said: “Gaslight is a play of the moment.
“Issues of coercive control have become mainstream: the recent Archers storyline led to a national debate, alongside the ongoing impact of the #MeToo movement.
“The play itself has become part of this discussion: last year the idea of ‘gaslighting’, as a verb, was shortlisted by Collins Dictionary lexicographers for word of the year.
“So it felt to me like the right time for us to blow the cobwebs off this powerful and well established thriller.
“At Watford Palace Theatre we foreground women’s stories, and we are proud of our unusually broad audience demographic. Our bold and emotionally honest production will allow us to explore these ideas with our wider community.”
Richard Beecham, said: “With the rise of the #MeToo movement, a spotlight has been shone like never before on toxic masculinity and the abuse suffered by women at the hands of men.
“So it seems to me absolutely the right time to revisit the original drama 80 years on and to view it through a contemporary feminist lens.
“In our production out go the gas lamps, bonnets and bodices and in comes an ensemble of diverse women actors who will reclaim this story for 2019.”
Gaslight runs at Watford Palace Theatre from October 2- 26.