1992

Harvey

by Mary Chase

December 1992

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Wanted One Body

by Charles Dyer

September 1992

In the best Hammer horror tradition, the action of this play takes place in a classic old dark house set amidst the rising flood waters and swirling mists on the edge of the lonely marshes. This is Greenacres, the home of the Barraclough family, to which come a pair of solicitors to read the will of the late, but not greatly lamented Mr Barraclough, only to learn that his body has mysteriously vanished along with the will! Wanted: One Body! is a classic murder mystery of disappearing bodies, sliding panels and howls in the night. A who-dunnit and a thriller, but with the accent on laughter, its evergreen popularity testifies to its warmth, wit and thrills, and the hilarious fun for audience and actors alike.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

by Ray Lawler

June 1992

Summer of the Seventeenth Doll is an Australian play first performed in 1955 and then first published in 1957. The play is set in an old house in Carlton, Melbourne, in early December of 1953. The play explores the long term relationship between two larrikin Queensland cane cutters – Roo and Barney – and the women they visit every year in the off season – Olive, Bubba and Pearl. In this final Summer all awaken to middle-age and realise that things have or must change.

The impact of The Doll cannot be over-stated. Its success both here and abroad was quickly recognised as a defining moment in Australian theatre history.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Gaslight

by Patrick Hamilton

Directed by Peg Gloor

March 1991

This classic Victorian thriller was first produced in 1935. Jack Manningham is slowly, deliberately driving his wife, Bella, insane. He has almost succeeded when help arrives in the form of a former detective, Rough, who believes Manningham to be a thief and murderer. Aided by Bella, Rough proves Manningham’s true identity and finally Bella achieves a few moments of sweet revenge for the suffering inflicted on her.

The play is set in fog-bound London in 1880, at the upper middle class home of Jack Manningham and his wife Bella. It is late afternoon, a time that Hamilton notes as the time “before the feeble dawn of gaslight and tea.”

Bella is clearly on edge, and the stern reproaches of her overbearing husband (who flirts with the servants) make matters worse. What most perturbs Bella is Jack’s unexplained disappearances from the house: he will not tell her where he is going, and this increases her anxiety. It becomes clear that Jack is intent on convincing Bella that she is going insane, even to the point of assuring her she is imagining the gas light in the house is dimming.

The appearance of a police detective called Rough leads Bella to realise that Jack is responsible for her torment. Rough explains that the apartment above was once occupied by one Alice Barlow, a wealthy woman who was murdered for her jewels but that the murderer never found them.

Jack goes to the flat each night to search for the jewels, and lighting its gas lights causes the lights to dim in the rest of the building. His footsteps in the supposedly empty apartment persuade Bella that she is “hearing things.” Rough convinces Bella to assist him in exposing Jack as the murderer, which she does, but not before she takes revenge on Jack by pretending to help him escape. At the last minute she reminds him that, having gone insane, she is not accountable for her actions. The play closes with Jack being led away by the police.

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….